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The History^ Contributions^ and 
Present Problems of Our Racial 
and National Minorities 

edited by 








New York 


E. George Payne, Editor 

CO^YRKJHT, 1937, 1945, BY 

70 Fifth Avenue, New York 




SCHOOL of’ education, NEW YORK 

Contributors To ^^One America'' 

A. J. Barnouw 

Columbia University 

Emory S. Bogardus 

University of Southern California 
at Los Angeles 

Byron Brophy 

War Manpower Commission 

Francis J. Brown 

Consultant, American Council 
on Education 

Sterling Brown 

Howard University 

Quincy Guy Burris 

New Mexico Highlands University 

Yaroslav J. Chyz 

Common Council for American Unity 

Everett Ross Clinchy 

National Conference of Christians 
and Jews 

Stewart G. Cole 

Bureau for Intercultural Education 

Maurice R. Davie 

Yale University 

Dan Dodson 

MayoYs Committee on Unity, New York 

A. B. Faust 

Cornell University 

E. Franklin Frazier 

Howard University 

Rouben Gavoor 

Army of the United States 

Elmer L. Hedin 

Halcyon, California 

B. J. Hovde 

State Department 

James Weldon Johnson * 

Willard Johnson 

National Conference of Christians 
and Jews 

Thorsten V. Kalijarvi 

University of New Hampshire 

Habid I. Katibah 

Office of War Information 

Samuel Koenig 

Brooklyn College 

Kum Pui Lai 

National Tuberculosis Association 

Julius B. Maller 

The American Jewish Committee 

E. George Payne 

New York University 


Greek Embassy 

A . J. Reilly 

Hunter College 

Joseph Slabey Roucek 

Hofstra College 

Marian Schibsby 

Immigration and Naturalization Service 

Harry Schneiderman 

The American Jewish Committee 

Herbert L. Seamans 

National Conference of Christians 
and Jews 

Rufus D. Smith 

New York University 

Howard E. Wilson 

Harvard University 

Clark Wissler 

The American Museum of Natural 
History, New York 



Preface to the Revised Edition 

S INCE Our Racial and National Minorities appeared in 1937 the 
world has been plunged into total war. Through more than five 
years, men and nations have been pitted against one another in a life 
and death struggle. Even those few nations that remained neutral 
have not escaped the repercussions of the struggle. There is not 
a home that has not felt its impact, from a limitation of food to a 
gold star in the window. 

Two concomitants of war are inescapable: a deepening of the 
sense of loyalty to the nation of one’s allegiance, and a corresponding 
antagonism, rising to tense emotion, toward the nation that thwarts 
the self-interest of “my country.” 

Yet America, made up of peoples from every nation of the world, 
has attained and maintained an internal unity that was the bitterest 
disappointment to those abroad who believed th%t first- or even 
second-generation “native sons” would remain true to the “home- 
land.” True, Bundist organizations sprang up, seditious material 
was published, and a resultant mass trial of those who sought to 
undermine the loyalty of men in the armed forces became necessary. 
The number of persons engaged in such activities is insignificant, 
however, in comparison with the millions of their countrymen who 
have kept the faith with America. Our allies have been their allies, 
and our enemies, their enemies, though tied by bonds of language, of 
culture, and of blood to a nation with which we were at war. In 
the changing alignments of war, this loyalty has meant for many 
of foreign birth or foreign stock an abrupt shift and the acceptance 
of attitudes contrary to old-world patterns. In a very real sense, 
they have demonstrated in the acid test of war that they are 

Recognizing the dualism of this internal unity and the intensifica- 
tion of conflict resulting from the changed status of certain minority 
groups, especially the Negro, the authors gave serious consideration 
to many questions in planning this revision. Should one still refer 
to “minority groups” in a nation unified by, war; or is such unity 
for the meeting of a common foe only temporary! and thus super- 



ficial? In other words, will the inevitable adjustments made among 
groups during the war enhance rather than diminish a sense of diver- 
sification in the postwar period? Should one-third of the population 
of America continue to be labeled “hyphenated Americans”? Will 
“cultural pluralism” be replaced by a common cultural pattern? 

A careful analysis indicates clearly that while the war has brought 
gains that would otherwise have taken decades, it has not and cannot 
wholly eliminate the irrational attitudes and practices characteristic 
of a heterogeneous society. Some of the gains will probably be lost 
after the war, especially if the nation is faced with anything less 
than full employment. Although the war has resulted in an even 
deeper sense of loyalty to America, it has brought also an intensifica- 
tion of concern for the welfare and future of the “homeland.” One 
need only point out the rapid expansion of relief agencies soliciting 
for individual nations and the organizations promoting the inde- 
pendence of the European nations in the postwar reconstruction. 
So, too, culture patterns persist and cultural pluralism has been abetted 
even by government in its endorsement of the continuance of the 
foreign language press and foreign language broadcasts. Cultural 
pluralism will continue long after the war, and the flow of immigra- 
tion and emigration which will then be’ resumed will perpetuate and 
reintensify the existence of many cultures within the larger pattern 
of America. 

Why, then, a revision rather than another reprint? As previously 
stated, the war has telescoped the gains and losses of decades of social 
change into a few years. It is necessary to describe these changes 
and to appraise them in the light of their potential continuance in 
the postwar period. Even more, the change of title is an expression 
of the editors’ deep conviction that in the period between the two 
editions and in the crucible of war we are moving toward a cultural 
democracy. We have become and will remain One America! 

The editors and the individual contributors have brought the 
material of their chapters up to date and in several instances have 
entirely rewritten them. Some chapters have been eliminated or 
combined with others. Several of the chapters have been written by 
contributors other than those to the original edition and are entirely 
new. These include all the chapters dealing with the Negro, a num- 
ber of the discussions of the other minority groups, “The Foreign- 
Language Negro Press” (Chapter XII), “The American Indian and 
Government” (Chapter XVIII), and “Religion and Minority Peoples” 
(Chapter XXIV), 


New chapters have been added both in the general presentation 
and for specific groups including “Backgrounds of America’s Hetero- 
geneity” (Chapter II), “Foreign-Language Broadcasts” (Chapter 
XIII), “Fraternal Organizations of National Minority Groups” 
(Chapter XIV), “National Minorities in Domestic Politics” (Chapter 
XV), “America’s Minorities and Foreign Politics” (Chapter XVI), 
“Culture Patterns of Minority Groups” (Chapter XX), “Second- 
and Third-Generation Americans” (Chapter XXI), “Our Vanishing 
Minorities” (Chapter XXVII), “New Attitudes in Community Rela- 
tions” (Chapter XXVIII), “Intercultural Education” (Chapter 
XXIX), “Changing Attitudes Through Classroom Instruction” 
(Chapter XXX), and “Intercultural Education and International 
Relations” (Chapter XXXI) . 

Despite these additions, the entire volume has been substantially 
shortened. Every effort has been made to avoid “dating” the book 
or viewing the material from the temporary and artificial viewpoint 
of war. The problems of minorities are as old as tribal conquests; 
they will persist in the future. 

The editors are deeply appreciative of the reception accorded the 
first edition. It is their earnest hope that this revised edition, written 
from the vantage point of accelerated social change, will have even 
greater influence in achieving the purpose of the original volume: 
“the development of the sympathetic understanding and wholehearted 
appreciation which must characterize the higher plane of our civili- 
zation and culture, where intolerance, oppression, and prejudice, 
unjustified and unfounded, will have no place.” 

Sincere acknowledgment is given to the many individuals who 
have in various ways assisted in the preparation of this revision, and 
especially to Helen G. Brown, wife of Francis J. Brown, whose many 
helpful suggestions in the editing of the entire manuscript are very 
deeply appreciated. Mrs. Bozena S. Roucek has clarified for her 
husband numerous points pertaining particularly to the problems of 
Slav immigrants. 

Francis J. Brown 
Joseph S. Roucek 

Co-Authors and Editors 


Part III differs from previous studies of minority groups in that, 
as far as possible, the specific sociological problems are drawn in- 
ductively from the data of Part 11. Although it was impracticable 
to submit the previous chapters to each of the contributors, all were 
given a detailed outline of the entire volume; and, as far as possible, 
each has developed his material in the light of this inductive approach. 

In Part IV the way is pointed out to what the authors believe is 
the only possible solution: the acceptance of the best from all of 
our minority groups through the development of the idea of “cultural 
pluralism.” To overlook the contribution of these groups to Amer- 
ican life, both in its historical development and in the present, is to 
ignore the most obvious facts. Sympathetic understanding and can- 
did appreciation must supplant the formerly much overemphasized 
idea of the “melting pot.” The final chapter gives at least a glimpse 
of the way in which central Europe is seeking to solve the same 
problem, providing an interesting comparison and contrast. 

The approach to the problem is primarily from the standpoint of 
educational sociology. Conceiving education as the sum total of 
the experience that molds the attitudes and determines the conduct 
of both the child and the adult, this volume seeks to analyze this ex- 
perience in each specific group and in the general analysis of the 
sociological factors that lead to social control. The importance of 
such specific educational agencies as the press, the church, and the 
many group organizations is clearly shown. Likewise, the relation- 
ship of the school to the larger aspects of the problem is continually 
emphasized. To the ever-increasing number who believe that the 
school must assume responsibility for seeking, honestly and earnestly, 
to decrease racial and social tensions and build mutual respect and 
understanding, this book will be a welcome source of material through 
its summary and systematic evaluation of the contributions of each 
minority group to our total cultural life. 

It will also be a source of information for the teacher, the social 
worker, the clergyman, and all others interested in better under- 
standing their fellow men. To the minorities themselves it will 
provide a summary of the present status and contributions of their 
own and related groups. 

This book has been conceived jointly by both editors. Both 
acknowledge their obligations to numerous individuals for sugges- 
tions, and both are well aware of the limitations of the present volume. 
If the treatment is not always complete and at times seems even 
superficial, the critic should recognize the broad scope of the material 


and the necessity of maintaining definite limits to hold the book to 
a reasonable length. The studies are actually summaries of widely 
scattered information. In some cases they are concerned with mi- 
nority groups on whom information in Enghsh is not easily accessible 
or does not exist. In no case could the treatment be exhaustive; it is 
rather the foundation upon which further studies can be made. In 
fairness to the authors of the various chapters, it should be said that 
all of them have been aware of this limitation and, upon the insistence 
of the editors, they have had to keep within certain limits even at the 
expense of eliminating important and relevant material. B'or those 
who wish to make more exhaustive studies, a comprehensive bibhog- 
raphy is appended, hmited again by space to works in English. 

It has been necessary to make certain arbitrary changes in some of 
the material. All diacritical marks are omitted, and foreign names 
are frequently anglicized. Statistical data that are but a reproduc- 
tion of United States census figures have been intentionally omitted 
unless essential to the text. The terms “old” and “new” immigration 
have been retained as a convenient means of denoting the comparative 
times of greatest influx. It is recognized, of course, that immigrants 
continue to arrive from the countries included under “old” immi- 
gration and that most of the so-called “new” immigrant groups date 
their first arrivals from pre-Revolutionary days. Only one territory, 
Hawaii, has been included. All the South American countries have 
been treated as a unit. There is no relationship between the numer- 
ical importance of a minority group and the number of pages devoted 
to it, as the editors felt that such an allotment would but repeat the 
all too common error of excluding or minimizing the minorities from 
the smaller countries, for whom the problem is thereby often made 
all the more acute. 

Finally, the individuals mentioned as contributors to American 
life have been chosen by the various authors on the basis of their 
contributions to the common welfare. For the most part they have 
been classified according to their native lands, although several in- 
dividuals are “claimed” by more than one national group, owing to 
changes of residence or to shifting boundaries. This is also true of 
those who have no poHtical “homeland,” such as the Ukrainians and 
the Jews. This is inevitable; and to the extent that it demonstrates 
ethnocentrism, it is both interesting and significant. 

The editors and authors express their sincere appreciation to Dean 
E. George Payne of New York University, editor of the Prentice- 
Hall educational series, whose classes in “Racial Contributions to 


American Culture” inspired the idea of the book, and whose support 
and encouragement have acted as a continual incentive. 

The task of compilation has not been easy. Endless correspond- 
ence and many conferences have been necessary. But no amount 
of effort will be begrudged if this book even partly achieves its pur- 
pose — ^the development of the sympathetic understanding and whole- 
hearted appreciation which must characterize the higher plane of 
our civilization and culture, where intolerance, oppression, and 
prejudice, unjustified and unfounded, will have no place. 

Francis J. Brown 
Joseph S. Roucek 


Table of Contents 



I. The Meaning and Status of Minorities, Francis 

J. Brown i 

II. Backgrounds of America’s * Heterogeneity, Fran- 
cis J. Brown 13 


III. The American Indian, Clark Wissler 19 

IV. The American Negro, James Weldon Johnson 29 

V. “Old” Immigration 33 

A. British Americans, Francis J. Brown 33 

B. Irish Americans, A. J. Reilly 43 

C. Norwegian Americans, B. /. Hourfe 51 

D. Swedish Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 60 

E. Danish Americans, A. J. Barnouw 71 

F. Dutch Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 82 

G. Belgian Americans, Francis J. Brown 90 

H. French Americans, Francis J. Brown 96 

I. German Americans, A. B. Faust loi 

J. Swiss Ameiicms, Joseph S. Roucek 113 

yi. “New” Immigration: Slavic States 120 

A. Russian' Americans, Yaroslav J. Chyz 120 

B. Ukrainian Americans, Yaroslav J. Chyz : 127 

C. Bolish Ameiicms, Joseph S. Roucek 135 

D. Czechoslovak Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 145 

E. Yugoslav Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 158 

F. Bulgarian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 167 

* The tenn “America” is used consistently in this volume to include only the United 
States; “Americans” includes all who reside within the continental United States 
widiout regard to citizen^p status. 





VIL “New” Immigration: East European States 178 

A. Latvian Americans, Joseph S. Roiicek 178 

B. Lithuanian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 184 

C- Estonian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 194 

D. Finnish Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 199 

E. Austrian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 209 

F. Hungarian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 213 

G. Rumanian Americans, Francis J. Brown 223 

VIIL “New” Immigration: South European States 233 

A. Albanian Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 233 

B. Greek Americans, M. J. Politis 242 

C. Italian Americans, Francis J. Brown 257 

D. Spanish Americans, Francis J. Brown 270 

E. Portuguese Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 276 

IX. Jewish Americans, Harry Schneiderman and Julius 

B. Mailer 281 

X. Asiatic Immigration 

A. Syrian Americans, Habid 1 . Katibah 291 

B. Turkish Americans, Francis J. Brown 298 

C. Armenian Americans, Rouben Gavoor 299 

D. Hindu Americans, Elmer Hedin 310 

E. Chinese Americans, Joseph S. Roucek 313 

F. Jzpzn.ese hmeiiczns, Joseph S. Roucek 325 

XL The Americas and Our Territorials 

A. Canadian Americans, T. V. Kalijarvi 341 

B. Latin Americans, Quincy Guy Burris 346 

C. Filipino Americans, Emory S. Bogardus 334 

D. Hawaiian Minority Groups, Kum Pui Lai 364 


XII. The Foreign-Language and Negro Press, Joseph 

S. Roucek 369 

Xni. Foreign-Language Broadcasts, Joseph S. Roucek. . 384 

XIV. Fraternal Organizations of Nationality Groups, 

Yaroslav J. Chyz 392 

XV. National Minorities in Domestic Politics, Joseph 

S. Roucek 400 




XVI. America’s Minorities and Foreign Politics, Joseph 

S. Roucek 415 



XVII. Prejudice and Minority Groups, Everett Ross 

Clinchy 431 

XVIII. The American Indian and Government, ByroJi 

Brophy 438 

XIX. The Negro and Racial Conflicts, E. Franklin 

Frazier 450 

XX. Culture Patterns of Minority Groups, Steavart 

G. Cole 462 

XXL Second- and Third-Generation Americans, Samuel 

Koenig 471 

XXII. Minority Groups and Their Communities, Francis 

J. Brown 486 

XXIII. Education and Minority Peoples, E. George Payne 496 

XXIV. Religion and Minority Peoples, Willard Johnson. . 507 

XXV. Immigration and Government, Rufus Srnith 515 

XXVI. Naturalization in the United States, Marian 

Schibsby 524 



XXVII. Our Vanishing Minorities, Maurice R. Davie 540 

XXVIII. New Attitudes in Community Relations, Herbert 

L. Seamans 552 

XXIX. Intercultural Education, Stewart G. Cole 561 




XXX. Changing Attitudes Through Classroom Instruc- 
tion — ^An Illustration, Dan Dodson 572 

XXXI. Intercultural Education and International Re- 
lations, Howard E. Wilson 578 

XXXII. Contributions of the American Indian, Clark 

Wissler 583 

XXXIII. Contributions of the American Negro, Sterling 

Brown 588 

XXXIV. Contributions of Immigrant Minorities, Francis 

J. Brown 616 

XXXV. Future Steps in Cultural Democracy, Joseph S. 

Roucek 623 


Tables 632 

Organizations and Publications 658 

Selected Bibliography 660 

Index 703 

Part I 



The Meaning and Status of Minorities 

Feancis J. Brown 

T hrough all of recorded history, men have dreamed of a world 
in which there would be both complete equality of opportunity 
for all and perfect fraternity of all. Yet such a world is still a Utopia 
— a world that exists only in the minds of those who. close their 
eyes to facts and refuse to face reality. 

The one universal characteristic of mankind is variability. Social 
organization crystallizes such differences as those of race, religion, 
and nationality, and the awareness of differences is lifted from an 
individual to a group concept. Each group tends to develop a “we” 
or “in-group” feeling with a definite attitude of superiority as to 
its own cultural pattern and a feeling of antagonism toward that of 
the “they” or “out-group.” It perpetuates its own folkways, exalts 
its own culture, fosters its own self-glorification, and seeks to trans- 
mit this same attitude, undiminished and even enhanced, to its chil- 
dren. Likewise, each group tends to disparage the accomplishments 
of those of the out-group, ridicules its culture, and often, as in 
Germany during the rise and the death struggle of nazism, seeks 
to exterminate it by rigid censorship and by persecution. Thus in 
ethnocentrism — ^the superiority of the in-group and the evaluation 
of all other groups by reference only to the culture pattern of one’s 
own group — ^is found the basis of differentiation between dominant 
and minority groups. 

The problem of minorities is as old as civilization and as universal 
as the social organization of mankind. It is neither new nor is it 
peculiarly American. It exists in every nation to the extent that any 
gEOup is consciously aware of a feeling of difference between itself 


and the majority or dominant group. In a nation with a fairly 
homogeneous origin, minorities are based largely on political or 
religious differences. In the United States, with approximately 14 
per cent of its population of a different race and with more than 30 
per cent of its people foreign bom or first generation, differences 
of race and nationality are added to those of politics and religion. 
The melting pot is only a myth; America will continue to be a 
nation of heterogeneous peoples, but a nation richer in its heritage 
by the very fact of its variability. The problem is not that of seek- 
ing to establish a common mold for aU, even if this were possible, 
but rather that of finding ever more effective ways in which each 
variant may be increasingly aware of its integral relationship to the 
composite pattern of American life. 

Although “minorities” is primarily a group term, it poses, in 
reality, a problem of individual behavior. That problem exists to 
the degree that each individual identifies himself with the culture 
pattern of a group, accepts its values as his own, and seeks to retain 
and to perpetuate them. This fact of individual behavior provides 
both the greatest hope and the most serious difficulty in seeking to 
meet the problem. The hope lies in the educability of the individual, 
who is the product, limited only by biological and psychological fac- 
tors, of his environment. The difficulty lies in the individual’s uncon- 
scious acceptance of group values before he recognizes their social 
significance. The cultural heritage of the individual and the conscious 
processes of education thus are often in conflict. The conflict in fact 
goes even deeper, since the individual is subjected to educational 
forces in themselves inconsistent. On the one hand are the activities 
of those individuals within a minority group who seek to perpetuate 
the consciousness of differences in race and nationality; on the other, 
are those who seek to minimize or even to utilize such differences 
as a basis for the inculcation of a sense of national unity, based on 
knowledge and appreciation of all, without reference to race or 

The task of meeting the problem will be long. Only by continu- 
ous, thoughtful, cooperative planning and by the earnest and consistent 
effort of all agencies, will mutual appreciation and human understand- 
ing characterize the attitude of all Americans and truly create — One 

The Meaning of Minorities 

The basis for classification of groups into majorities and minorities 
is social differentiation; but such classification is extremely difficult. 


According to literal use of the terms, such differentiation is based 
upon a numerical ratio; but history is replete with illustrations in 
which the numerically larger group is dominated by the smaller. We 
must go beyond statistics to formulate our definition. 

A second possible differentiation is on a purely legalistic basis — 
the lawful right of one group to dominate another. While such a 
distinction is at times valid, in many instances actual minorities rec- 
ognized as such do not exist at all in the legal sense. Our Negro pop- 
ulation is guaranteed by constitutional amendment all of the rights 
of full citizenship, yet large numbers of Negroes are excluded through 
social pressure from the exercise of those rights and in several states 
even from the use of the ballot. To a greater or lesser degree, the 
same illegal discrimination is shown against many other minority 

Another aspect of a common legal distinction is on the basis of the 
country of birth, with the tacit assumption that only the foreign 
born comprise our minorities. Obviously, this is not true. The 
American Indian — ^the only true American, who does not trace his 
ancestry to those of foreign birth — ^is today a minority group, as is 
also the American-born Negro or Oriental. 

The definition of minorities, then, must be drawn primarily from a 
sociological analysis. Our attitudes are determined less by numerical 
ratios or legalistic conceptions than by the constellation of social 
processes and their expression in terms of subtle discrimination or of 
overt behavior. We are thus dealing with intangibles impossible 
of exact definition. However, we shall use the term in the socio- 
logical sense: Minorities are the individuals and groups that differ 
or are assumed to differ from their dominant social groups and that 
have developed, in varying degree, an attitude of mind which gives 
them a feehng of greater social security within their own groups 
than they have in their relation to the dominant group. The differ- 
ences, although varying in degree, are distinguishing characteristics 
not only in terms of race, religion, nationality, and state allegiance 
but also in the composite cultural pattern. However, such differ- 
ences in and of themselves are not sufficient to make a group a minority 
without the accompanying attitude of dominance and subservience, 
consciously accepted or tacitly assumed. 

Both aspects of the problem are constantly in a state of flux. As 
will be emphasized again and again in this volume, both integrat- 

^For ^ecific illustrations, see Herman Feldman, Racial Factors in American In-- 
dustry; G. T. Stephenson, Race Distinctions in American Law; and W. D- Weather- 
ford and C. S. Johnson, Race Relations^ 


ing and disintegrating forces are continually playing upon the cul- 
tural patterns of minority groups. Likewise, significant changes 
in social attitudes may aggravate or eliminate a minorities problem. 
An illustration of the latter is that in times of economic stress a definite 
tendency arises to accentuate differences between groups and resent- 
ment against particular minorities. Frequently economic competi- 
tion, as well as other factors, is transplanted into other more virtuous 
arguments against the resented minority. How complicated the prob- 
lem is can be demonstrated by the fact that not all members of 
the group consciously or definitely promote such attitudes purely 
out of self-interest. They are often duped with such slogans as 
“America for Americans” and “Nordic Superiority,” which they 
accept as the explanation of social problems or social goals. The 
attitudes arising from such slogans are then transferred to the minority 

Finally, it must be emphasized that we are dealing with irrational 
factors, since attitudes are as much if not more the product of inci- 
dental association and unreasoned generalization than the result of 
consciously planned educational procedures and reasoned judgment. 
As Young states,^ in his excellent analysis of this problem: 

Racial attitudes, friendly or antagonistic, may be the product of 
objective and accurate observations, but they are more likely to be 
based on limited and faulty knowledge, distorted by the minds though 
which they have been relayed, and by the subjective interpretations of 
their possessor. Human experience is limited but personal opinions may 
be posited on limited and raise information. 

The Changing Status of Minorities 

Thus far we have dealt with the larger differentiation between 
minority and majority groups. The general principles would be 
equally applicable were we ^scussing such groups on any basis of 
differentiation, religious, economic, or social. Actually, however, 
we shall be concerned only with such classification as is based pri- 
marily upon race and nationality. This does not minimize the im- 
portance of secondary characteristics such as language, dress, man- 
nerisms, and all of the multifarious expressions of the cultural pattern, 
for, as will be continually shown, granting all of the exceptions, these 
differences tend to run parallel with those of race and nation. The 
common bonds create a sense of autonomy that is further strengthened 

2 Donald Young, American Minority Feoples, p. n. New York: Harper and 
Brothers, 1932. Quoted by permission. 


for many minority groups by the attitudes of the majority and the 
resulting social and economic isolation. 

Specific data are presented in the separate chapters dealing with 
each minority group. It is necessary here only to summarize briefly 
the more basic trends in the changing status of ininority groups.® 

The historical account of the arrival of the first minority group — 
the early colonists — has been told too frequently to need repetition. 
No statistics were kept until 1820. During the next eleven years 
approximately 152,000 immigrants came to the United States. As 
shown in Table I (page 632) and Figure i, the curve by decades 
reveals a consistent increase to 1 860, remains comparatively constant 
for forty years, and then reaches its peak for the decile period 1901- 
1910. Actually, the great wave of immigration reached its highest 
point during the ten years 1905-19 14, during which time the average 
annual influx was 1,011,994. From 1920 to 1924, inclusive, the 
number averaged more than half a million a year. The restrictive 
immigration law and the depression, together with the changed 
attitude toward emigration in the countries from which we had 
received our largest numbers, has brought a rapid decline in immi- 
gration, and the five years prior to the outbreak of World War II 
witnessed an emigration of 240,000 in excess of immigration. 

It is not the purpose of this volume to analyze these annual fluctu- 
ations.^ The specific factors affecting emigration are discussed in 
connection with each minority group. It is necessary to emphasize 
only two further factors in the changing status of minority groups: 
the varying character of the immigration, and the present attitude 
toward it. Dr. Edward J. Corsi® described the former as two 
successive waves: the first, to approximately 1880, coming largely 
from northern and eastern Europe and usually referred to as “old” 
immigration; and the second, beginning approximately in 1880 and 
with varying intensity reaching its maximum height in 1914, arriving 
largely from eastern and southern Europe, and referred to as “new” 
immigration. Figure 2 bears out this general statement. Dr. Corsi 
told the story of the American who visited a little town in Italy. The 
mayor received him with the statement, “I greet you in the name 

3 For detailed statistics on immigration and emigration, see publications of the 
United States Department of Labor. 

^For a detailed analysis of annual fluctuation, see L. G. Brown, l?mmgration; 
H. G. Duncan, Immigatidn and Assimilation; M. R. Davie, World Immigation; 
Henry P. Fairchild, Immigration; Donald R. Taft, Human Migration; and others. 

® Address delivered before the Educational Sociology Club, New York University, 
December 2, 1936. 

1820-1943, AND TOTAL EMIGRATION, 1911-1943 

1820 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 

1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 I9p0 1920 1920 1930 1940 1943 

Figure t 



Figure 2 



of the five thousand inhabitants of my village, four thousand of 
whom are now in your country.” Figure 3 presents this shift in 
origin of foreign stock by countries. 

The second general factor in the changing status of minority 
groups is the changed attitude toward minorities. With the rapid 
industrial expansion which came with the recovery from the panic 
of 1873, it was apparent that a horde of cheap labor was necessary 
to hew our forests, mine our coal and minerals, lay the ribbons of 
steel across our far-flung continent, and tend the tireless wheels of 
industry. America then became the great melting pot, the haven 
of the oppressed, and the escape from war-torn Europe. Agents 
traveled through village and country spreading the gospel of freedom 
and plenty. Industrialists cooperated with railroad and steamship 
companies by paying passage in exchange for the contract labor of 
the foreigner — the famous (and infamous) padrone system which 
made him a virtual peon of his American employer. Even the mayors 
of some of the villages and cities received a fee for each inhabitant 
they persuaded to leave for America. Southern Negroes were wel- 
comed in the large industrial centers, and the cleverly rationalized 
theory was advanced that they were especially immune to the exces- 
sive heat of blast furnaces and the stokers hold. Only the Indian 
escaped the ravaging hand of our reputedly benevolent industrializa- 

For nearly half a century this need for cheap labor continued, and 
America remained the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How- 
ever, a distinct change had already begun. The great forests had 
been laid waste. Through the installation of lifts and cranes and 
automatic crushers, the number of miners needed to keep raw mate- 
rials abreast of consumption reached a stationary level and then began 
to decline. In mill and factory, in shop and store, repetitive acts 
were transferred from the human hand to the infallible machine. 
Even the great horde of laborers who followed the rotation of the 
harvest from Texas to Montana through the seasons were replaced 
by the combine and the power-driven machinery of the farm. 

During this period political philosophy underwent a similar change: 
our .assumed benevolent attitude gave way to candid self-interest, the 
“greatest social experiment in human history” became the “melting 
pot mistake,” and the open door began to swing shut. Through 
successive acts, the most important being those of 1882, 1917, 1921, 
and 1924, the gates were practically closed and the machinery of 
deportation was so established that the visitor at Ellis Island in the 




















ITALY .... 


GREECE .... 

■■ ■ ' FlOUlfiE . ' ■ ■ ■ 

* Relative thickness of the bars represei^ts the volume of immigration from each country. 
{Fifteenth Census of the Vmted States, Population: Year of Immigrations of the foreign 
Bom, p. 497.) 


days before the war found the immigrant room virtually empty 
but the detention or deportation rooms crowded, some individuals 
returning voluntarily, others because the long arm of the law had 
apprehended them for illegal entry. The immediate result of the 
shutting off of the supply of labor from Europe was the influx of 
Negroes from the South into the northern industrial cities. This 
movement declined in the late 1930’s because of the depression and 
the oversupply of labor in urban centers but had an unprecedented 
rise during the war period of the early 1 940’s. 

The details of legislative action are presented in Chapter XXV, 
“Immigration and Government.” It is our purpose to indicate here 
only the basic social processes operating to mold such legislation. A 
glance at Figure 2 will to a large degree explain the motives for the 
literacy act of 1917, which required that each immigrant be able to 
read a minimum of forty words in any language. Although pre- 
sumably applicable to all aliens coming to our shores, this bill was 
the objective expression of the growing attitude of discrimination 
against the central and southern European, for in it was the tacit 
assumption that a larger number of foreigners from this area would 
be excluded because of illiteracy than from northern or western 

In actual practice this type of legislation failed, as was indicated 
in the facts presented above, to stem the tide that again set in after 
the war. Although the basis of our changed attitude was un- 
doubtedly economic, it was camouflaged in a flood of propaganda 
against immigrants, and especially against those from southern Europe. 
The theory of Nordic superiority was given scientific credence 
through analysis of the results of the Army Alpha and Beta tests.® 
Race dififerences were “discovered” through the use of a host of 
newly devised intelligence tests and the development of the mythical 
I. Q. Almost uniformly such studies demonstrated the inferiority 
of the “new” immigrant, the Oriental, the Negro, and the American 
Indian, and that, in the case of the last two,, there was a high correla- 
tion between intelligence and the proportion of white blood.'^ 

Although such' studies have been largely refuted by equally 
scientific analyses,® and although the average layman failed to under- 

8 C. C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence. Princeton University Press, 

7 For a summary of such studies and an extensive bibliography see Rudolph Pintner, 
Intelligence Testing, Chapters XVII, XVIII, and XX. New York: Henry Holt and 
Company, 1923. 

s William C. Bagley, Determinism in Education. Baltimore: Warwick and York, 
Inc., 1925* 



stand the new scientific jargon of means, percentiles, and coefficients 
of correlation, the results gave a flavor of objectivity to what he 
subjectively wanted to believe. 

Another type of propaganda appeared at the same time. The 
results of the Army tests showed a high percentage of illiteracy 
among the more recent arrivals to our shores as well as among the 
Negroes, especially of the South. This was interpreted as a failure 
on the part of these particular minorities to assimilate our culture, 
and a general feeling of alarm was aroused which still further strength- 
ened the growing antagonism toward them and resulted in the estab- 
lishment of the quota laws of 1921 and 1924. The quotas are given 
in Table II (page 634), together with the number admitted from 1936 
to 1941. 

The attitudes demonstrated by the present policy and enhanced by 
it may be briefly summarized under three general implications of aU 
legislation from 1917 to the present. First, such attitudes are clear 
expressions of the growing ethnocentrism of the native-bom popula- 
tion. The term “America for Americans” has been raised from the 
slogan of a popular newspaper chain to a national policy. The ma- 
jority has lifted its hand against all minority groups. 

A glance at Table II will reveal abundant evidence of the second 
implication — the assumed superiority of the “old” immigration from 
northeastern Europe and the consequent assumed inferiority of the 
“new” immigrant from eastern and southern Europe. The quota 
allotted to the former even in the Act of 1921 was in excess of the 
average emigration from those countries during the years 1910 to 
1914, while the quota for the latter was less than one fourth of the 
average number admitted. The complete exclusion of the Chinese 
and Japanese, not by the quota but on the grounds that only white 
and Negro native and African stock can be naturalized, is still further 
evidence of the attitudes toward certain minority groups. And 
finally, the acts clearly show the irrational character of the social 
processes with which we must deal in considering the problem of 
American minorities. 

The war made sharp changes in the flow of immigration and emigra- 
tion. Four significant facts are shown by Table IV (page 636). 
Japanese emigration rose rapidly during the four years before Pearl 
Harbor, from June 30, 1938 to June 30, 1942, a total of 1,800 leaving 
in 1941. The number of Germans who left in proportion to those 
who arrived from June 30, 1938, to June 30, 1943, was more than four 
times that of Italians and larger than that of any other country except 
Japan. More women came as immigrant aliens than men, while more 



men than women returned to their native country. America again 
became the haven of refugees, receiving over 100,000 Jews during 
this five-year period — almost ten times the number from any other 
country and approximately one half of the total immigration. 

To meet the labor shortage of 1942 and 1943, several thousand 
laborers were imported from Mexico and Cuba; but the experiment 
did not prove successful. Most of them were returned home at the 
expense of our government. 

The period of postwar adjustment will create a problem new in 
its magnitude. Will all of the prisoners of war be returned to their 
respective countries.? What of Italians, captured as enemies, but 
later citizens of an “allied nation”.? Will they be permitted to remain 
in the United States if they request the privilege of doing so? The 
answers cannot be predicted, but it may be assumed that the same 
forces that have determined prewar policies will to a large degree 
shape our national policy in the postwar period. 

The problem of American minorities is, then, primarily a problem 
of attitudes — of ethnocentrism on the one hand and of prejudice on 
the other. While it does have, as will be stressed in succeeding chap- 
ters, a basis in fact — ^in differences of culture and in isolation — 
the basic element rests in the subtle assumption of the fundamental 
character of such differences. 

It is this fact that makes a frank analysis of the problem a genuine 
challenge to every thoughtful individual. To the degree that the 
children in our schools, the young people in our secondary schools 
and colleges, and the adult can be led to a sympathetic understanding 
of the many factors that have continually played upon our minority 
groups, and to a genuine appreciation of the contributions of those 
groups to the lives of each of us, to that extent may we supplant 
irrational attitudes with reasoned judgment and prejudice with under- 


Backgrounds of America s Heterogeneity 

Francis J. Brown 

I N THE preceding chapter, the problem of America’s minority 
groups was painted in broad strokes. If we are to grasp the prob- 
lem’s full significance, we must analyze it in some detail. 

Table I (page 632) presents the overall picture. During the 124 
years in which data have been available, approximately 39,000,000 
immigrafits came to America. Of this number, nearly 33,000,000 
or 85 per cent came from Europe; the other American countries con- 
tributed 4,500,000 or II per cent, Asia a little less than 1,000,000 or 
about 3 per cent, and the remainder or 2 per cent came from Africa, 
Australia, the Pacific Islands, or unspecified parts of the earth. It is 
estimated that of these 39,000,000 who entered the United States jrom 
other nations 30,000,000 have remained.^ 

In Table III (page 636) , we find the total picture broken down still 
further. This table indicates that during a period of one hundred 
and twenty-one years the largest total was from Germany, with its 
peak in 1882. The peak migration from southern Europe was from 
Italy, in 1907. The great English and Irish migrations reached their 
peaks earlier, that of Irish migration having come in 1851 and of 
Great Britain in 1888. The eastern European migration — from 
Austria-Hungary and Russia — like that from southern Europe, came 
during the early part of this century, with peaks in 1907 and 1913, 
respectively. The largest number of Chinese immigrants came in 
1882 and of Japanese in 1907. Mexican migration did not become 
important numerically until 1924, after the passing of the Oriental 
exclusion act. The curbing of Oriental immigration left expanding 
agricultural and industrial areas of the Far West in need of a supply 
of cheap labor. This need was filled by the nearly half a million 
Mexicans who entered the country during the decade ending 1930. 

1 S. 'BuMijipson, ?ofulation Trohlems, p. 376. Third edition. New York: 

McGraw-HiU Book Company, 1943. 




Emigration. Another side of the picture must be taken into ac- 
count. Although it is important to know the numbers that have 
come to America from the nations of the world, our present problem 
is also determined by the number who have returned. Only by the 
arithmetical process is it possible to procure an accurate appreciation 
of the extent to which each nationality group has contributed, nu- 
merically, to our heterogenous population. Table IV (page 636) 
gives the data. 

Unfortunately no emigration statistics were kept before 1908. 
Even the data as given by the Immigration and Naturalization Service 
are not wholly subject to the subtraction referred to above. The 
numbers indicate the country to which the emigrant is returning. 
This may or may not be the country from which he came, especially 
with the shifting boundary lines which followed the first World War. 

Certain generalizations, however, can be made. In proportion to 
immigration, the numbers returning are higher for eastern and^ southern 
Europe than for western and northern Europe. For example, the 
Greeks came in large numbers during the two decades 1901 to 1920. 
There were approximately 350,000 of them, but almost half of them, 
or 170,000, returned between 1911 and 1930. Conversely, while 
nearly 500,000 Irish came during the first two decades of this century, 
only 35,000 returned. Mexican emigration, since 1920, has exceeded 
immigration, but the reverse is true for Canada. 

These data are frequently discussed in later chapters as they are a 
measure of the extent to which each group came with the intent of 
becoming permanent residents in the new land. 

Nationality backgrounds. The most accurate picture of nation- 
ality backgrounds of the white population of the United States is 
provided by the special analyses made each decade since 1910 by 
the Bureau of the Census showing the nation of origin of the white 
population. These data® for the year 1920 indicate that about 40 
per cent of the white population was of British or North Irish origin, 
16 per cent of German origin, and ii per cent of Irish Free State 
origin. From these groups were derived two thirds of the popula- 
tion. No other country has contributed as much as 5 per cent of 
the total population. 

A study of the data for 1940 presented in Table V (page 638) reveals 
several important facts. Although Germany ranks first in the num- 
ber of foreign white stock, it is second in the number who are' foreign 

^Recent Social Trends, p. 20. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1932. 


born. Italy is second in foreign stock, first in foreign bom. Great 
Britain is third in the number of foreign stock with Poland and Russia 
following, but both of the latter surpass Great Britain in the number 
born abroad. An analysis of the figures on native born of foreign 
parentage shows that Germany and Italy (15.9 and 15.5 per cent 
respectively) have more than half again the number in this category 
of any other nationahty group. 

The picture of immigration by nationality groups is thus continually 
in flux. The fifty years of immigration shown in Table VI (page 
640) indicates these changes even more graphically than does a com- 
parison of twenty years. Many factors, economic, religious, social, 
and political, determine the course of immigration. 

Language distribution. The extent to which these various nativity 
groups have failed to blend into our predominant culture pattern is 
probably best indicated by language. The 1940 census tabulates the 
total white population of the United States by mother tongue.^ Since 
1910 the Census Bureau has collected information about mother 
tongues, but the tabulation has included only the foreign-bom white 
group itself (the 1930 census), or, at the most, the foreign-bom white 
and their American-bom children (the 1910 and 1920 censuses). 
The 1940 census is the first one that furnishes information not only 
for the so-called first and second generations of foreign stock but also 
for the third generation and subsequent generations. 

The Census Bureau defines mother tongue as the “principal language 
spoken in the home of the person in his earliest childhood.” It 
classifies the foreign born as first generation; the native bom of foreign 
or mixed parentage as the second generation; and the native bom of 
native parentage as the “third and subsequent generations.” 

Table VII (page 644) shows that English was the mother tongue 
of nearly 80 per cent of the total white population in 1940, the propor- 
tion being lowest for the first generation (20 per cent) ; in the second 
generation almost 53 per cent; and in the third and subsequent gener- 
ations, almost 93 per cent. The census thus comments on this no- 
table increase; “Since the proportion of immigrants from English- 
speaking countries has been declining for many decades, it would 
appear that immigrants of a foreign mother tongue are less inclined 
than formerly to use it in their homes and thus to teach it to their 

Although the German mother tongue was the next largest in 1940, 

^Mother Tongue of the White Population: 1940, “U. S. Census, Series P-15,” 
No. 4, September 22, 1942. 


numbering 4,949,780 (about 4 per cent) of the total white popula- 
tion, it seems very small in comparison with the English-speaking one. 
Among those of Spanish mother tongue nearly two fifths, and among 
those of French mother tongue over one tliird, were of the third 
and subsequent generations.^ 

Mother-tongue statistics taken by themselves are interesting and 
significant, and so are statistics by country of birth; when combined, 
they are infinitely more interesting and significant. Mother tongue 
is in most cases the same as the language usually spoken in the country 
of birth, but not in all cases. The situation in this respect varies 
widely from country to country. For example, 97.4 per cent of the 
foreign-bom white persons having Norwegian as mother tongue gave 
Norway as the country of their parents’ birth; on the other hand, 
only 22.2 per cent of the foreign-bom white persons having French 
mother tongue said that France was the country of their parents’ 
birth. To look at the matter from another angle, 1,451,160 of the 
foreign-bom white persons in the United States said that Russia was 
the country of birth of their parents, but only 392,480 of them said 
that Russian was their mother tongue. Yiddish was the mother 
tongue of a large proportion of the persons who came here from 
Russia, as was true also, though to a much less extent, of Germans. 
To get a realistic picture of the origins of the foreign group it is neces- 
sary to know not only in what country they or their parents were 
bom but also to what “race” or “people” they belong, as evidenced 
by their mother tongue. 

Median age. A similar but less accurate indication of the recency 
of immigration are data on the median age of our foreign white stock. 
The 1940 census shows the foreign groups from northern Europe to 
be older on the average by nearly twenty years than those from eastern 
and southern Europe. 

Naturalization. A measure of assimilation is the percentage of each 
foreign group who have become citizens of the United States. In the 
1940 census, those from the Scandinavian countries led the list, 
closely followed by Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Ireland. 
Mexico is by far the lowest, with five other countries between 50 and 
60 per cent naturalized. This problem will be discussed in more 
detail in Chapter XXVI. (See Table XXI, page 657.) 

Trends in foreign born. From the standpoint of nativity, America 
has not yet approached homogeneity in the composition of its popu- 

4 For a more detailed analysis see the Interpreter Releases, No. 49 (October 19, 
1942), XX, No. 22 (May 27, 1943), and XIX, No. 55 (December ii, 1942). 


lation. There is, however, a significant trend in this direction. In 
1940, less than 11,500,000 were foreign-born whites, as compared 
with almost 14,000,000 only one decade earlier. These figures are 
even more significant when reduced to percentages. The foreign 
bom constituted 8.7 per cent of the white population in 1940, whereas 
it made up 1 1 .4 per cent ten years before. 

This trend has influenced the nature of our present problem. With 
each passing year the number of foreign bom is decreasing. There is 
no longer the need to adjust a foreign group to American life. The 
question which we now face as a nation is the extent to which the 
children and grandchildren retain the cultural heritage of their fore- 
bears and at the the same time are integrated into the total pattern 
of American life. 

Racial distribution. Thus far we have dealt only with nationality 
groups; but America’s population differences are both national and 
racial. The principal non-white race is, of course, the American 
Negro, comprising, in 1940, 9.73 per cent of the total population of 
the United States. All other races combined make up less than one 
half of one per cent. The American Indian comprises half of this 
total and is increasing more rapidly than any other group. (See 
Table VIII, page 645.) 

Religion. One of the marked effects of nationality derivation on 
ideologies and behavior patterns is the field of religious belief. The 
1936 census of religious bodies shows that approximately 56,000,000 
persons were affiliated with religious bodies. Of these, some 3 1 ,000,- 
000 were Protestants, 20,000,000 Catholics, and 4,600,000 Jews. In 
all, the church population was broken up into 256 denominations, 
each possessing some distinctive characteristic. 

This picture of heterogeneity would be incomplete without some 
mention of the considerable number of refugees who have come to 
this country since the rise of the intolerant totalitarian systems. It is 
extremely difficult to provide accurate figures. The reports of the 
United States Immigration Service . make no distinction between 
refugees and other immigrants; furthermore, many refugees have 
entered this country on the visas obtained in Canada or South America, 
and many are allowed to come in as “visitors,” “professors,” “priests,” 
“students,” and similar classifications which do not include them in 
the regular quota system.® 

“ Francis J. Bro-wn, Ed., “Refugees,” Annals, American Academy of Political and 
Social Science. Vol. 203, May 1939. 


The Weakness of All Census Data 

All these figures are suggestive rather than conclusive. For, con- 
trary to the popular conception that there is such a thing as a 
“German” vote or mentahty, there are no Germans, Czechoslovaks, 
Poles, or other minority groups living in America, that are charac- 
terized by definite and singular characteristics applicable to each 
group member. It is impossible to speak about such minorities in 
terms of their collective names without noting that each cluster is 
subdivided into numerous socially stratified classes and castes, disinte- 
grated and frequently in conflict with one another in terms of their 
differences. This fact is very important to bear in mind, as pointed 
out by Donald Young; ® 

The human tendency to classify strangers by traits which distinguish 
them most strikingly has made for the neglect of the complicated class 
stratification which exists within each minority, no matter how lowly its 
position on the national scale. Whatever the white man’s view, Negroes 
are not just Negroes to each other; a multitude of status lines crisscrosses 
colored social relationships, marking distinctions which are no less im- 
portant humanly and scientifically than those to be found in white Boston 
or Baltimore. Similarly, Mexicans are not just Mexicans to each other, 
nor Jews just Jews, Japanese just Japanese, French Canadians just French 
Canadians, Italians just Italians. 

This point will become more than obvious in the subsequent pages 
of this volume. When, therefore, we use the collective term in 
describing various minorities, we deal with the tendencies or attitudes 
in such groups rather than with the all-pervading mentalities of each 
respective group. 

“Donald Young, Research Memorandum on Minority Peoples in the Depression, 
p. 25. New York: Social Science Research Council, Bulletin 31, 1937. 

Part II 



The American Indian 

Clark Wissler 

T he AMERICAN INDIAN in our national population has a 
unique history. All the other minority groups migrated here 
from the old world since 1492, whereas the Indian was at that time 
the sole inhabitant. He possessed the land by virtue of long occu- 
pation but was gradually crowded out, seized, and made an unwilling 
subject to the European intruders. He played a part in the colonial 
wars between the Spanish, French, English, and Dutch colonials, 
according to local circumstances. Not infrequently Indians fought 
on both sides, because their tribes were usually at war with each other 
and easily induced to give temporary allegiance to the colonial 
nationals not immediately pressing upon their individual frontiers. 
After the Revolutionary War, the United States became their chief 
enemy, though even then tribes temporarily at peace could be hired 
to fight with the soldiers of the United States against such tribes as 
were formally at war with that nation. 

When the original thirteen colonies set up an independent govern- 
ment, they inherited the Indian minority problem from the mother 
country. In the main, the former policies of the English government 
were followed at the outset. The Dutch seem to be credited with 
having led in establishing the procedures adopted by England. The 
colonies of the Dutch, English, and French were established as business 
corporations operating under charters issued by their respective gov- 
ernments. Thus the Dutch corporation settling in New York ex- 
pected its main profits for a time to be derived from trade with the 
Indians. They assumed that the land was really owned by the 
Indians and consistently secured titles to such lands as they needed by 




purchase. They went further in recognizing the several tribes as 
independent states with which they made treaties. It mattered little 
that the Indians rarely understood what was happening when they 
signed a contract to sell portions of their lands, because the colonists 
considered these contracts legal and binding and were powerful 
enough to defend the titles to lands thus acquired. 

Prior to the Revolution, the leaders of the colonial governments and 
the Crown evolved a policy of permitting each Indian tribe to retain 
a relatively small area of its lands for permanent residence. This 
area was called “a reservation,” because it was not subject to coloniza- 
tion or sale, but was guaranteed in perpetuity by treaty with the tribal 
government as exclusively reserved for the tribe’s own residential 
occupation and use. W’ashington’s administration naturally accepted 
this policy. The concept of the tribe as a nation continued until 
Grant’s time, when Congress ruled that all Indians were individually 
subjects of the United States, but still recognized the several tribes 
as entities with whom contracts could be made. Their prior rights to 
definite areas of land were taken for granted and the practice con- 
tinued of respecting tribal ownership as vested in equal per capita 
shares in the same.^ 

Another important and unique feature of Indian minority policy 
is that the government recognizes hereditary tribal groups as owning 
tracts of land communally, in that ail their decendants are equal per 
capita owners of the lands and income derived from the same. 
Trends in current policies are toward the formal incorporation of 
each tribe as owner of its residual lands and accumulated capital, under 
a form of national trusteeship. All other minorities are looked upon 
as of common national ancestry but received as individuals seeldng 

This policy is consistent with recent legislation authorizing a form 
of restricted self-government for Indian corporations according to 
which members of the tribe elect a body of directors who regulate the 
financial and social affairs of the tribe or the corporation. Now that 
many tribes are increasing in number and inherit their right to indi- 
vidual participation in their corporation and community governments, 
it remains to be seen what the future may bring forth. Already, un- 
der the guiding hand of the government, new lands are being pur- 
chased and added to certain reservations no longer large enough to 

1 Walter H. Mohr, Federal Indian Relations 1933; Aime H. Abel, 

Proposals for an Indian State of the JJnion^ American Historical Association Report, 
pp. 89-102, 1907. 



support the tribal population. Where this may lead in the distant 
future is not dear. Indians are now increasing in number faster than 
any other minority in our population. The Navaho, for example, to 
provide for their improving economy, need more land for raising 
their livestock, thus presenting a group of local problems in Arizona 
and New Mexico, which sooner or later will demand just solutions. 
So far no other minority group in our nation enjoys so unique a legal 
and social status. 

The government has liberalized its policy respecting language, per- 
mitting the printing of textbooks in certain native tribal languages 
and the giving of instruction in the same. However, English is 
taught in Indian schools also. This experiment in dual language 
instruction is now under way in the schools for Navaho Indians and 
will be extended to the tribes who speak the Dakota language. When 
a compact community of 50,000 inhabitants retains a distinct language, 
its cultures and institutions seem fair to become stabilized and to 
persist for a long time. Most of the tribes surviving still speak their 
own languages in their homes and at official conferences, but many 
become bilingual, speaking in addition English or Spanish, according 
to location. Under such conditions it is not to be expected that the 
native speech will soon be extinct; rather it will become even more 
stabilized, especially where it is used in school instruction. When 
large groups of Indians speak, read, and write their own languages 
and reside in fixed geographical areas, they have something in common 
with other foreign-language groups, even though they are unique 
in their legalized communal ownership of land and capital. 

Indian Population 

The number of Indians on the rolls of the United States Department 
of Indian Affairs in 1943 was reported as 401,384, including Alaska. 
It was estimated that the total Indian population was approximately 
430,000. It is thus apparent that the Indians do not constitute one 
of the major minorities such as the Italians, Scandinavians, Greeks, 
and so on, but on the other hand do greatly outnumber many others 
fisted in this volume, for example, Turks, Syrians, and Hindus. The 
data on living Indians in the United States census usually record fewer 
Indians than those reported by the United States Indian Service. 
Thpre are several causes for this difference: because of mixture of 
In dian and white blood, many white hybrids appear in the census 
as white, due to their small degree of Indian blood, whereas the rolls 
of the In dian service count them because they are entitled to shares 



in Indian tribal lands and incomes. Again, in states where there are 
mixtures of Negro and Indian the custom is to list all as Negro. 
Further, the Indian service registers all persons of Indian descent 
whether they live on their tribal reservation or not, whereas many 
mixed-blood Indians scattered at random are enumerated in the census 
as white or Negro. Thus, it seems probable that the main cause of 
discrepancy between the census and the reservation rolls lies in the 
classification of mixed bloods. 

The question is often asked as to the number of full-bloods now 
living. As already pointed out, the difficulty in classification, espe- 
cially of the decendants of those who marry back with full-bloods, 
dooms any answer which might be given to the status of an estimate. 
The usual statement is that at least one-half of our Indians are of mixed 
blood. Mixed marriages seem to be declining, however, and since 
many mixed bloods marry full-bloods, the Indian strains are reassert- 
ing themselves. On the other hand, intertribal marriages are increas- 
ing, so that although the tribes are still mainly inbreeding, the tend- 
ency toward leveling down tribal types is growing. 

The number of Indians in the United States in 1492 is still a con- 
troversial question. The conservative estimates are about 1,000,000, 
or roughly 0.33 per square mile. Since most of our Indian tribes 
were primarily hunters and but a few of them agriculturalists, some 
critics regard this estimate as too high. The denser populations were 
distributed along the Atlantic coast plane, in the Gulf states. New 
Mexico, Arizona, and the Columbia River area.^ With European 
contact, the stress of white domination, war, and new European dis- 
eases took heavy toll, the lowest point in numbers being reached about 
1900. Since that time the number of Indians has been increasing at 
an accelerating rate, due to the falling death rate among children and 
the constancy of a birth rate equal to that of any other minority. 

Students of populations know that several factors may modify the 
growth of numbers: (a) changes in the birth rate, (b) changes in the 
total death rate, (c) changes in the age-at-death frequencies, and 
(d) changes in sex ratios. It is conceivable that any one of these 
could remain constant while the others changed. Hence, a knowl- 
edge of the total death rate does not tell us much about what is hap- 
pening to the age and sex composition of our Indian population. 

One of the first questions may be as to the sex ratio in the total 
Indian population. Although early observations of explorers and 

2 A. L. Kroeber, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America, pp. 131- 



fur traders indicated an excess of females, the data for 1934 show the 
reverse to be true today. This change in sex ratio suggests that 
reservation life, or white contact, is favorable to the survival of males, 
whereas in earlier times life was far more favorable to females. 
Further, analysis of Indian data suggests that a hunting life, plus war 
excursions, presented extra hazards to males and that white contact 
gradually reduced these hazards, so that at present the total ratio of 
males and females, among Indians in the United States, is similar to 
that among our white population. 

The age distribution, or age profile, of a population changes prob- 
ably in unison with trends in mode of life. Because of the change to 
reservation life, there was an increase in children surviving through 
the first fifteen years of life, which means that minors have increased, 
relatively, under white contact. The increase would have been 
greater, if tuberculosis, an adolescent disease, had not caused a slight 
decline in the number of minors surviving for the ages 16-20. It is 
further observed that an increasing number of adults survive. So, as 
may be suspected, the gross death rate rose sharply when Indians were 
first placed upon reservations, then in a few years began to decline 
and is still declining. The birth rate, on the other hand, remained 
high; hence the observed recent increase in Indian populations is due 
chiefly to the falling death rates, in turn due to increasingly effective 
social and economic adjustments to white culture. 

Looking toward the future, we may expect the Indian death rate 
to fall until it approximates the death rate for whites living under 
similar conditions. Then if the Indian birth rate remains high, there 
will be a rapid increase in Indian population. Further, since the 
Indians possess social solidarity and each tribe has its own language, 
they may hold their own for a long time. However, all promise 
to become Americanized in mode of life, in economic and social 


The adjustment of a minority group to a larger dominating culture 
group is defined as acculturation. As such, it is one type of resultant 
in culture impact. The culture history of the Indian is an example 
of acculturation as so defined.® At first each tribe made its contact 
through trade and was thereby stimulated to greater production of 

3 Margaret Meadj The Changing Culture of an Indian Tribe; Melceel, Scudder, 
“A Discussion of Cultural Change,” American Anthropologist, N. S.; and Clark 
Wissler, An Introduction to Social Anthropology. 


goods and inducted into a higher standard of living. As competition 
became keener, the weaker tribes were crushed. But eventually each 
surviving tribe in turn was engulfed in white settlements, then placed 
upon a reservation and expected to live like white people. Yet ad- 
justment to white culture began at early contact, and the cultures of 
the Indians changed with each advance in the intimacy of the con- 
tact. Through this early contact the Indians acquired the horse, 
metal tools, firearms, kettles, cloth, and so on. European clothing 
became common, and now that axes were available, better houses were 
constructed and more comfortably furnished. The use of liquor 
became common. Many Indians became bilingual, nominal Chris- 
tians, and learned a great deal about white culture. Some customs 
that the whites frowned upon were given up or at least kept in the 
background. Marriage of Indian women and white men spread a 
knowledge of white folkways. Almost every Indian had observed 
white people in their daily occupations and knew how they lived. 

Once having reached the reservation stage, the leaders of each tribe 
knew that they were doomed to live,' if self-sustaining, like their 
rural white neighbors; and in many cases they made the initial effort 
in that direction. There were failure, discouragement, incompetence, 
trickery, and tragedy, the responsibility for which rested upon both 
Indian and white. All Indians were expected to farm; but in many 
cases their lands were ill adapted to agriculture. Even when crops 
were planted, drought, hail, insects, and other misfortunes discouraged 
the Indian, because, unhke the white man, he had no folk experience 
behind him to give him faith in the future and encourage him to expect 
ultimate success. His philosophy of life led him to expect that “the 
powers” would protect him from these calamities; but, if they did not 
protect him, he accepted such failure as evidence that they disap- 
proved of what he had done, and so there was no use in persisting. 
Nevertheless the younger generation has overcome many of these 
handicaps, and if one visits an average reservation today, he will find 
many Indian families living in good houses, dressed according to 
modem rural white standards, using automobiles, radios, and the like. 
Most of the young people are able to write and read English. In 
the southwestern part of the United States many Indians speak 
English and Spanish in addition to their own language. 

Yet these Indians are not identical in culmre with their white neigh- 
bors of old American stock. Their traditions are different. Se- 
cretly, maybe, but surely, they consider themselves intrinsically better 
than their white neighbors, or at least that the culture of their ancestors 


was a far better one than that of the white man. At the same time 
many of them are doing their best to acquire the economic techniques 
of their white neighbors and to profit thereby. They desire all the 
conveniences of contemporary life, though they are not in sympathy 
with it. 

Today the touring white public looks upon the Indian as a diver- 
sion and encourages him to exploit his past for profit. At many 
places where tourists gather, the Indian displays his handwork, usually 
honestly, but occasionally fraudulently, offering for sale machine and 
factory-made imitations. Along the Great Lakes, in eastern Canada, 
and almost everywhere west of the Mississippi where Indian reserva- 
tions are found, Indian women and men frequent railway stations and 
the main highways, dressed in modern conventional Indian styles, 
offering Indian goods for sale. Also, at camps and other central 
locations, costumed Indians sing and dance, and afterward solicit tips. 
The actual profits resulting from all these efforts are pitiably small. 
For example, several thousand Navaho women weave blankets at home, 
but the average return they get is less than five cents an hour. On 
the other hand, it is contended that these women enjoy weaving and 
thereby develop their aesthetic appreciation to their betterment. A 
group of pubhc-spirited persons is now interested in the development 
of Indian crafts, seeking to stimulate a larger market for Indian-made 
goods and, of course, a higher price. This may be possible, but there 
are many economic and social pitfalls to be avoided. The white 
tourist attitude encourages the Indian to take a place in our midst 
which is somewhat like that of the gypsy of Europe in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries. This is not a desirable solution to the Indian 
problem. How to change this attitude on the part of the interested 
public and still maintain a market for Indian crafts, the interest in 
which is certain to be erratic and subject to violent style fluctuations, 
is puzzling. 

Perhaps the outstanding problem in the present system of reser- 
vation management is that of keeping the Indian from becoming more 
and more dependent. If he should be turned loose in the world, his 
lack of experience would quickly send him to the bread line. Thus, 
the net result would be nil, and the burden would be shifted from 
federal to local governmental agencies. Forceably to put Indian 
families upon their own and to scatter them among the white popu- 
lation at large would be to break up their relationship ties and separate 
them from their friends. The effect of this upon their mental and 
emdtional life might be detrimental. Just how to avoid the violent 



final wrench in turning the Indian loose is not clear. No one has as 
yet proposed a procedure which promises gradually to induct the 
Indian from economic dependence to independence. And so he is 
in a kind of vicious circle, completely conditioned to a dependent 
existence and at the same time taught to desire all the benefits accruing 
to a successful independent citizen. 

Present Conditions of Indian Tribes 

All Indians are legally citizens of the United States, entitled to 
vote according to the laws of the states in which they reside. They 
may own real estate and personal property subject to common law, 
but their tribal or reserved lands are held in trust for them by the 
federal government and so are not subject to state and county taxa- 
tion or to most procedures of state government. Each tribe of Indians 
is claimant to the right of domicile on the lands reserved for its 
members and their descendants, and the federal government considers 
itself committed to their schooling, medical care, discipline, and gen- 
eral welfare. Churches of various denominations may support mis- 
sions and private schools for Indians under permits from the govern- 
ment, though at present many congregations of Indians support their 
churches as churches are supported among the population at large. 
An In dian reservation, or agency, is in charge of an agent, or super- 
intendent, with an administrative staff varying in size according to 
the number of Indians and area of the reservation. The agent is 
directly responsible to the United States Indian Service, under the 
Department of the Interior. He administers the reservation accord- 
ing to the regulations established by the Indian Service and special 
legislation by Congress. 

AU reservation Indians are in the main rural populations, engaged 
in food production according to local conditions. Those upon the 
seacoast and inland waterways may be in part fishermen, but the 
aboriginal economy of hunting and foraging has disappeared from all 
reservations, except in parts of Alaska. Livestock production has 
been substituted, coordinated with agriculture. The types of housing 
are approaching national styles in architecture, though often upon a 
low level of adequacy. During seasons of mild weather, many 
families may leave their cabins and cottages for temporary shelter of 
tents or other aboriginal types of housing; but they return to their 
permanent homes in unfavorable weather. Most Indians prefer an 
outdoor camping mode of life to the indoor mode characteristic of 
our nation. In the vicinity of reservations they furnish a mobile 



temporary source of farm and outdoor labor, with their families 
occupying camps of their own construction. They prefer such 
activities as gathering potatoes, picking fruit, harvesting beets, and so 
on, in which the whole family young and old can participate. At 
such times the traditional form of tribal society is in full function. 
Under war conditions, many young Indian men and women found 
work and regular housing in towns where war goods were produced, 
expecting to return eventually to homes on their respective reserva- 
tions. Practically every registered reservation Indian looks forward 
to a normal family life upon his reservation. The security and advan- 
tage of his right to reside upon the reservation is the obvious deterrent 
to the absorption of the In^an into our national life and the losing of 
his identity as a minority. 

The Indian Reorganization Act 

In 1934, congressional action, in the form of the Wheeler-Howard 
Bill, instituted a new policy in the control of Indian minorities. The 
intent was to legalize steps to accomplish the following: (a) conserve 
the property now held in trust for the several tribes, (b) allow the 
tribe to manage its own affairs in a legal manner, (c) evolve a mode 
of living consistent with our national economy. The act was not 
forced upon the Indians, but each reservation unit was given the right 
to vote on the acceptance of jurisdiction under the act or to proceed 
under the old form of reservation management. A considerable 
number refused to accept the act, so that only a majority of our 
Indian minorities are living under this new policy. However, the 
policy of the government in administrating Indian affairs is tempered 
by the ideal objectives inherent in the act as summarized above. 
When a reservation unit accepts the act, a charter or constitution 
is drawn up and ratified, the necessary elections are held to provide 
officers and directors, and the act is set in operation under govern- 
ment guidance. It is expected that each reservation unit territorially 
and otherwise will eventually function under local state governments' 
and be self-supporting as are incorporated communities. The policy 
is still in its experimental stage, but in most instances it has demon- 
strated that it is feasible and economically sound. It is expected that 
from time to time it will be necessary to revise the charters and con- 
stitutions to meet new conditions. One of the chief responsibilities 
delegated to the councils, as they are called, is the administration of a 
revolving loan fund from which loans can be made to assist individual 
members to finance crops or herds of livestock and to finance general 



tribal enterprises as irrigation, conservation, building up tribal herds of 
livestock, and so on. 

In 1943 it was reported that 192 tribes had accepted the act, of 
which 88 had adopted constitutions and by-laws and 68 had received 
their articles of incorporation and were operating under the same. 
Some 2 80 tribes are recognized as living under some 1 60 reservations, 
but the number of units under which these tribes may incorporate 
is undetermined.^ 

The official reports issued by the Department of Indian Affairs 
claim that great progress has been made in raising the incomes of 
tribal members. The total production of food, livestock, farm prod- 
ucts, and so on, has increased encouragingly. The value of food 
products produced in 1943 was estimated as $21,000,000, and live- 
stock to the value of $12,000,000 was marketed. Efforts were made 
to encourage the storing of food by families in cans, by drying, and in 
root cellars, the results of which have been surprisingly successful. 

That many Indians are approaching white standards of thrift is 
indicated by the purchase of government bonds to the amount of 
several million dollars. The tribal councils have shown initial skill 
in handling cooperative enterprise, not only in livestock production 
but in lumbering on their own lands, raising sugar beets, mineral 
production, and so on. Some councils have invested their profits in 
the purchase of additional land to enlarge their reservations. Unless 
the government arbitrarily changes its present policy, or the state 
governments unduly interfere with the economic development of 
these incorporated Indian communities, Indians seem destined to 
become self-supporting and efficient citizens. 

The record of the Indians in World War II was excellent. Since 
they are citizens, they were subject to draft; but the number of 
volunteers was so great that the representation of this minority in our 
armed forces was relatively high. Over 18,000 were inducted into 
the service, notwithstanding many rejections because the applicants 
were unable to read simple English. Special schooling was provided, 
and many young Indians strove to quahfy. The combat record of 
Indians was exceptionally good, a number having been decorated for 

‘ G. D. Lindquist, The Red Man in the United States, p. 37, 1943. 


The American Negro 

James Weldon Johnson 
Revised by Francis J. Brown 

P ARADOXICAL as it may seem, the Negro goes as far back in the 
history of the new world as any of the old-world groups. Indeed, 
there are theories that African Negroes crossed the Atlantic at its 
narrowest point, landed on the South American continent, and 
influenced Indian civilization before the arrival of the white man. 
These theories have been set forth in great detail by Professor Leo 
Wiener, formerly of Harvard University. 

Whether the finds of Wiener be regarded as matters of fact or of 
conjecture, data exist which show that Negroes had a part in the ac- 
cepted discovery of America and its exploration. There are some 
grounds for believing that the pilot of Columbus’s flagship on the first 
voyage and of the Nina on the third voyage was a Negro. He was 
Pietro (or Pedro or Pero) Alonzo. In the “Libretto” ( 1 504) there are 
a number of references to him as “Alonzo, the Negro.” Once he is 
referred to as “Alonz, Negro cornpanion of the Admiral.” ^ Similar 
references are made in other early reports of the voyages of discovery. 
Whatever may be the fact concerning Alonzo’s race (Thacher states 
that the word “Negro” as used in the “Libretto,” which became cur- 
rent in following publications, was in the first instance the result of 
a typographical error), it is known that Negroes were numerous in 
Portugal and Spain long before Columbus sailed, and that many of 
them followed the sea; so it is not beyond likehhood that Negroes 
were among the crews of the three voyages. 

However that may be, authentic history attests the fact that there 
were Negroes with Balboa, Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto, and with the 
other great explorers. One of the survivors of the ill-fated expedi- 
tion led by De Narvaez was a Negro called Estevanico. He was 

iSee original and translation of the “Libretto,” John Boyd Thacher, Columbus, 
VoL 2, 457-514. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904. 




later a member of the expedition that explored the Rio Grande, and 
was the guide of the expedition that resulted in the discovery of what 
is now Arizona and New Mexico. The writings of the explorers 
and of the authoritative historians of the period contain numerous 
interesting and often amazing references to Negroes. 

But the history of the Negro in the United States begins definitely 
with the landing of twenty Airicans at Jamestown, Virginia, in 
August, 1619, It is worth noting that this landing at Jamestown 
took place more than a year before the Pilgrim Fathers set foot on 
Plymouth Rock. These twenty Africans were landed from a Dutch 
vessel and purchased by the white settlers, who made indentured serv- 
ants of them. The status of these first Negroes was practically the 
same as that of the white indentured servants who had preceded them. 
With the increase of the number of Negroes in Virginia and the other 
colonies, and as a result of the economic factor at work, there was 
a transition in this status from indenture to slavery. The economic 
factors were the basic forces in establishing, spreading, and maintain- 
ing the institution of slavery. According to the census of 1790, 
there was a total number of 757,181 Negroes in the United States, 
of which 59,558 were free. At the outbreak of the Civil War the 
total Negro population of the United States amounted to 4,441,830, 
of which number 488,070 were free. Out of the Civil War came 
the emancipation of the slave. 

The continued growth of the Negro population is shown in Table 
IX (page 645 ) . By 1 900, the number had doubled and was 8,8 3 3,994. 
In each decade, the Negro population has increased approximately one 
million, and, in 1940, was 12,865,511. 

Even more significant than the gross figure is the relation of 
Negroes to the total population. The percentage which the Negro 
population bears to the total population is also given in Table IX. 
In 1870 the percentage was 12.7. It increased shghtly and in 1880 
was 1 3.1 per cent, probably due to more accurate census data than 
because of any unusual increase. From 1880 to 1930, the percentage 
gradually but persistently declined to 9.69. This decrease in relation 
to the white population occurred during the period when the white 
population was being increased by an average net immigration (in 
excess of emigration) of approximately 3,000,000 each decade. The 
effect of immigration upon the ratio is further evidenced by the fact 
that during the ten years from 1931 to 1940 in which the increase 
in white population due to net immigration was but 70,000, the ratio 
of Negroes to whites reversed its trend. It increased to 9.7 7 per cent. 



In planning for the future, these facts become important, for thej^ 
indicate not only an absolute increase in Negro population, but a 
gradual stepping up of its percentage to the total population. 

Another significant fact is the distribution of Negro population. 
While a few Negroes had migrated to northern states prior to 1870, 
the number was small and, for the most part, they were escaped 
slaves. Beginning about 1875, the numbers gradually increased, 
fluctuating with the accessibility of employment in the North, espe- 
cially in the cities. The migration reached a previously unprece- 
dented peak during and immediately following World War I, con- 
tinued high even during the depression, and advanced to a new peak 
at the time of World War II. A comparison of population in selected 
states, over the decade 1930-1940 only, is presented in Table X (page 

Several facts are evident from a study of this table. Only one of 
the seven states in the Deep South, Kentucky, has shown a decrease 
in Negro population within the decade 1930-1940. The industrial 
states of the North have had an increase in their Negro population in 
approximately the same proportion. The agricultural states, espe- 
cially those having no large manufacturing centers, have shown httle 
increase, and in Iowa, for example, there has been a decrease in 
Negro population. 

Comparative data over a larger span of years to include both world 
wars would have shown a larger proportion of increase in the indus- 
trial North. If a comparison were made of population in cities, the 
trend toward urbanization would be even more pronounced. 

In this twofold movement of population — ^to the northern states 
and to urban communities — ^he many of the problems of economic 
and social adjustment comparable in many respects with the problems 
faced by the recent immigrant minorities. 

It is evident, then, that for more chan three hundred years the 
Negro has lived in the United States and has been an element of in- 
creasing consequence. Today the Negro- American population, 
numerically at least, constitutes the most important of aU. American 
minority groups. 

If we turn to even a brief statement of the social and economic 
factors, it becomes necessary at once to define more closely Negro 
Americans as a minority group. First, they have long been identified 
with the United States and cannot now be regarded in any sense as 
“immigrants”; and second, although they are more sharply separated 
from the main body than is any other minority group, they are not 



to be classified as “aliens.” They are essentially American, They 
are one with the main body in language, in religion, in customs, and 
in general concepts. Their minority status is therefore unique. For 
although there is this oneness at these vital points, the minority status 
of Negro Americans involves the greatest separateness from the main 
body and the least susceptibility to being changed. In this anomalous 
condition lies the fundamental distinction between Negro Americans 
and other American minority groups. The latter, no matter what 
their historical, cultural, or religious particularities, have the oppor- 
tunity and privilege of rapidly narrowing the gap between them and 
the main body. The practical closing of the gap between the main 
body and almost all of the earlier white immigrant groups has been 

A study of the Negro-American minority group will have little 
to do with distinctiveness in social, political, cultural,* and religious 
ideas, but will find a wide field in the duality of the system under 
which the Negro works separately along lines parallel to the basic 
national pattern. The problems resulting from this dual system of 
culture and this group’s significant contributions to American life will 
be discussed in later chapters. 


"'Old’’ Immigration 


Francis J. Brown 

T he PREPONDERANT influence of our British origins is every- 
where apparent — ^in our language, our government, our social or- 
ganizations, our impHcit faith in the individual, and our value of the 
freedoms for which we willingly stake life itself. The dominance 
of our British hetitage is forcefully demonstrated in the data given in 
an earlier chapter, which indicated that other languages are scarcely 
spoken among third and subsequent generations. 

Although we fuUy acknowledge the contributions of the British 
to American life, it would be a gross misstatement to imply that our 
present culture is British. Even before the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, the children and grandchildren of our Pilgrim Fathers had 
become American. New arrivals, even from the homeland, were 
looked upon as, and became in fact, immigrants. Although the 
English shaped the molds into which the life of our country was first 
poured, the product differed markedly and, over the years, became 
a composite pattern, a component of many cultures, and thus really 

No records were kept of these early arrivals, but census reports 
from 1820 to 1940 show a total of 4,264,728 immigrants from Great 
Britain divided as follows: from England 2,650,298; Scotland 734,191; 
Wales 86,465; not specified, 793,774. 


In the early days of colonization, the larger number of new arrivals 
came directly from England. A combination of pohtical, social, 
and economic causes drove them to America. They transplanted, or 
attempted to transplant, the Enghsh institutions in the new world. 
Thus the foundation of American culture was laid by the English 
people, although it must be emphasized that from the beginning it 



was apparent that transplanting was bound to be unsuccessful just 
because the new world was new. Only adaptation could save the 
form and spirit of things English. That very adaptation led ulti- 
mately, of course, away from England. Nevertheless, a new order 
was slowly shaped, and its beginnings became more apparent with the 
continued immigration of the late seventeenth century. 

These British immigrants represented at least two grades of society 
that differed widely from each ocher. The Pilgrims and Puritans of 
New England were the yeomen, the merchants, the manufacturers, 
skilled in industry. The southern planters sprang from a class of 
■si milar standing. Below both these classes were the indentured serv- 
ants, the majority of whom were brought to this country through 
the advertisements of shipowners and landowners or were forcibly 
captured and transported for crimes or pauperism.^ 

The age was a cruel, undemocratic, and intolerant one in England, 
and it was hardly better in the colonies, even though religious freedom 
erisited in Rhode Island and, to a degree, in Maryland. Yet among 
the rascals and scalawags who appeared in every colony, along with 
the more idealistic and often intolerant leaders, were prominent men 
who, for their general abilities, their idealism, sometimes their very 
impracticability, were lovable and admirable. Both of these elements 
laid the foundation of the United States; took part in a dramatic 
experiment the like of which the world had up to then never seen.® 

Even during this early period, our social conflicts, the products of 
immigration, began. During the colonial period hostility to immi- 
gration was apparent, and the “old” colonists regarded immigrants in 
some cases as “foreigners.”® There were differences in religion, 
language, and culture traits, intensified by objections to the pauper and 
criminal elements. The colonial assemblies were almost entirely in the 
hands of the Enghsh, and they were inchned to look down upon other 
ethnic and culttiral groups as inferior. The situation was complicated 
by the rehgious elements. Anglicans in the South and in New York, 
Puritans in New England, and Quakers in Pennsylvania were anxious 
to keep not only political but also rehgious and ethnic control. Sec- 
tarian differences were magnified. “Religious intolerance and reh- 
gious ethnocentrism were the spirit of the rime, despite the fact that 

1 J. R. Commons, Races and Immigrants in America, pp. 26-44. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1920. 

2 For a summary of the conditions of transportation of the colonists and immi- 
grants, and especially the character of indentured service, see M. R. Davie, World 
Immigration, pp. 29-39. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936. 

3 L, Garis, Immigration Restrictions, Chapter I. New Yotk: Th^ Mapmillan Com- 
pany, 1927, 



religious freedom was one of the attractive inducements held out by 
most colonies. Colonists were not ready to welcome those who did 
not cherish the same beliefs that had become sacred to them.” * 
Catholics were discriminated and legislated against in most colonies. 
Pennsylvania was the only really liberal colony in the matter of reli- 
gious tolerance. 

It was also quite natural that the various colonies soon began to 
object to the importation of the paupers, cpnvicts, and felons whom 
England sought to send to them. It is of interest that the economic 
arguments, so important in hastening later immigration, were used 
even this early. In fact, at the turn of the eighteenth century, some 
colonies tried to attract settlers by grants of land on the frontier. 
They needed them for frontier defense. One of the grievances in 
the Declaration of Independence was that the mother country had 
hindered the free flow of workers into the colonies. 

The religious, political, and cultural differences, the localistic old- 
world customs and ideals, and the geographical isolation tended to 
retard the rapid amalgamation of the immigrants from the non-British 
stock to the culture which was dominant at that time. Communica- 
tion and consequent social and economic contacts were more or less 
difficult, and yearly arrivals from Europe promoted separatism. On 
the other hand, the forces of assimilation were also at work. There 
was the physical distance from England, through which the colonies 
tended to retain the English cultural impress only in its modified form. 
But the English language was dominant, and the forms of local govern- 
ment, system of courts, and legal ideas were in use. Intermarriage 
was common and in favor of producing a common type. Washing- 
ton, in his Farewell Address, speaks to “Citizens by birth or choice, 
of a common country” and mentions that “With slight shades of 
differences, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political 

As shown in Table I (page 632), more than two and one half million 
immigrants from England arrived during the 121 years of recorded 
statistics, the peak being reached in the decade 1881-1890, when there 
were 644,680 new arrivals. However, as is true to a varying extent 
of all immigration, over one third of the entire number returned 

Like the Scots and the Welsh, the English first settled chiefly in 

*L. G. Brown, Immtgration, p. 51. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 
1933. Reprinted by permission. 

“ H. C. Duncan, Ivmtigration and Assimilation, p. 42. Boston: D. C. Heath and 
Company, 1933. 



the Northeast and Middle West; but, as the years passed, they 
diffused throughout the entire United States. In 1940, there were 
657,335 individuals bom in England or Wales living in this country. 
The largest number, approximately 120,000, lived in New York, 
with Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, California, Ohio, 
Rhode Island, and Connecticut following in the above order. 

As informal ties to the homeland declined, social organization 
crystallized the link between the old world and the new and organ- 
izations developed to promote Anglo-American relations. The 
General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and the Ark and Dove, 
were made up exclusively of those of English descent, as were also 
the Colonial Dames of America and the Elereditary Descendants of 
Colonial Governors.® 

Groups that preserve English customs and traditions in this country 
provided another bond between Great Britain and the United States. 
In this class may be placed what was the first regularly organized mili- 
tary company in America, the Auicient and Honorable Artillery Com- 
pany of Boston, Massachusetts. Formed in 1637, this military organ- 
ization, which held drills in Faneuil Hall, was modeled upon the 
Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest existing body of volunteers 
in Great Britain, founded in 1537. 

The English Folk Dance Society of America was organized in 1915 
by Cecil J. Sharp, an authority on folk dances and folk music, and 
aimed to perpetuate and encourage folk dancing in its traditional 
English form in America. Branches and centers were established in 
many parts of this country. Since 1926, the group has conducted 
a summer school or Folk Dance Camp at Pinewoods Camp near 
Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

As colonizers and immigrants, the English were indissolubly con- 
nected with the growth of America. George Washington was the 
great grandson of a Yorkshireman, and nearly two thirds of our 
presidents have been wholly or partially of English blood. Every 
chapter of American history is studded with English names. We 
received not only the colonizers and immigrants from England, to- 
gether with their culture, but also our first ironworks, cotton mills, 
and railroads. It was English capital that supplied the means for 
much of the early beginnings of our industrial development. 

The English have been leaders in every enterprise. We have no 
important walk of life that does not bear somewhere the hallmark 

6 Helen J. Nolan, Organizations in the United States Interested in Anglo-American 
Relations. New York: The Digest Press, Vol. VI, No. 6, December, 1936. 



of the Englishman. Two of the signers of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence were English-born: Robert Morris, who placed his entire 
fortune at the service of his adopted country, and Button Gwinnett. 
A forceful Englishman named Thomas Paine did much for American 
independence with his pen. Although bom in Bermuda, Francis 
Landey Patton, who was president of Princeton University for 
fourteen years, is considered an Englishman. John Harvard’s name 
is associated with the founding of the oldest and one of the most out- 
standing of American universities. Samuel Slater was the founder 
of our cotton-mill industry at the close of the Revolution. 

Coming to our more modem period, we find James Smithson, that 
mysterious benefactor of ours who never even visited our shores but 
who bequeathed to us the fortune and the idea from which our Smith- 
sonian Institution sprang. The writings of Thompson Seton, friend 
and biographer of wild life and animals, are still widely read, as is 
Francis Hodgson Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy. James E. Scripps’ 
name is connected with a chain of newspapers. James Elverson began 
his career as a messenger boy and then became the proprietor of the 
Philadelphia Inquirer. The genius of Richard Mansfield, the mag- 
netism of William Faversham, the winsomeness of Annie Russell, the 
classic charm of Julia Marlowe are still remembered by the theater 
lovers of America. Great motion picture stars of England have con- 
tributed much to our Hollywood studios: Charles Laughton, Merle 
Oberon, Herbert Marshall, and Ronald Colman head an extensive list. 
Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke was the head of the New York Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. William Colgate, soap magnate, it also identified 
with philanthropic pursuits. Samuel Gompers, a former leader of 
the labor movement, was born in England. 

In the field of mechanical invention, we also must note John 
Stevens, grandson of an English immigrant, who built our first steam 
r ailr oad in Hoboken, and Walter Katte who built the New York ele- 
vated railroad. Robert Hoe adapted the “Hoe cylinder” invented 
by his gfandfather, which made possible our great metropolitan dailies. 

It is scarcely possible that Andrew Carnegie’s dream of a British- 
American uni on will ever become a reality. But the significant in- 
fluence of the past combined with the stem realities of global war 
translated that dream into a vsddely proposed plan.’^ The postwar 
world will require the closest cooperation between Great Britain and 
the United States; the foundation has been well laid in the pattern 
of our common culture. 

’’C. H. Streit, UTiion Now. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1939. 




There were two streams of Scottish immigration. One came 
directly from the motherland, the other came through the province of 
Ulster in North Ireland. The latter are claimed as Irishmen by 
Irish writers in the United States and are commonly referred to as 
“Scotch-Irish.” To assert that these Ulster Scots are either Scottish 
or Irish after two centuries of blending is difficult, especially since they 
have become almost a distinct group unto themselves. 

The migration to America was influenced by many factors. The 
first impetus was given by the rebellion of 1641. During the Com- 
monwealth, the war between Scotland and England resulted in large 
numbers of Scottish prisoners taken at Dunbar (1650) and at 
Worcester (1651) being sold into service in the colonies. Revolu- 
tions, discrimination by England against Scottish woolen goods, and 
especially religious intolerance, were all contributing forces to this early 
migration. Two shiploads of Scottish Jacobites were sent over in 
1717 and sold as servants. Matters became so desperate at the begin- 
ning of the ninth decade of the seventeenth century that a number of 
nobles and gentlemen determined to settle in New Jersey and the 
Carolinas. The mania for the emigration to North Carolina affected 
all classes and continued for many years. In 1735, the General As- 
sembly of North Carolina provided for recruiting among the High- 
lands of Scotland. 

Although many Scots came to New England, they never settled 
there in such numbers as to leave their impress on the community so 
deeply as they did in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the 
South. From the coast settlements, the stream of immigration flowed 
south into the Virginias, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
and west across the Alleghenies into the great territory of Ohio. The 
immigration slowly increased until the accession of George III. At 
the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, it is believed that one third 
of the entire population of Pennsylvania was of Ulster-Scottish origin.® 

The wide distribution of these immigrants was accounted for in 
large part by the sentiments they carried with them. The people in 
most of the seaboard colonies, and especially the governing classes, 
had preserved the Anglican flavor in their folkways, and so the larger 
number of Scots and Ulster Scots went to Pennsylvania and the 
Carolinas. Their independent position on the frontiers proved to be 

8 W. Reid, The Scot in America and the Ulster-Scot, is the most readable summary 
of Scottish immigration. 



of importance during the American Revolution. The Ulster Scots 
especially had felt the hand of England so heavy upon them that they 
had been glad to leave their green fields along the Ban and the Foyle 
to come to the new world. It was not strange, then, that “the first 
voice publicly raised in America to dissolve all connection with Great 
Britain (the Mecklenburg and West Moreland Resolutions) came not 
from the Puritans of New England, nor the Dutch of New York, nor 
the Planters of Virginia, but from the Ulster-Scottish Presbyterians.” ® 

According to the United States census of 1940, of the 279,321 
foreign born from Scotland in America, over 50,000 live in New 
York, with lesser numbers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, 
Illinois, and California. Although the Scot has an Anglo-Saxon back- 
ground, he is slow to become naturalized; in 1930, only 60.9 per cent 
of the foreign bom had become American citizens. In religion, the 
American Scot is almost sure to be Presbyterian, and the influence of 
Scottish Presbyterianism on the formation of the Republic cannot be 

From the beginning, the Scot impressed his cultural background on 
America. Who need be Scottish to join in singing “Annie Laurie” 
or “Cornin’ Through the Rye?” Today no city of importance is 
without its St. Andrew’s Society or Bums or Caledonian Club. 
There are more than 1,000 of these societies, including the Order of 
Scottish Clan, organized in 1878, and the Daughters of Scotia, organ- 
ized in 1898. Philip Livingston was the first president of the St. 
Andrew’s Society of New York. Among his sons was the president 
of the New York Provincial Congress. Another son signed the 
Declaration of Independence, and another was governor of New 
Jersey. It is of interest that of the fifty-six members of the Conti- 
nental Congress in 1776 who signed the Declaration of Independence, 
James Wilson of Pennsylvania and John Witherspoon of New Jersey 
had been born ill Scotland and nine others (Willian Hooper of North 
Carolina, George Ross of Delaware, Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia, 
and P hili p Livingston of New York, among others) were of Scottish 
descent. John Witherspoon’s name is still celebrated in America in 
educational and other circles; in 1766, he was elected president of the 
College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). The descend- 
ants of Principal Witherspoon can be traced in honorable positions 

- ® George Bancroft, The History of the United States, Vol. 5, p. 77. Boston: 
D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1861. 

10 The best summary of the Scottish influence in America is D. MacDougall, Scots 
and Scots’ Descendants in America. 



in the ministry and the professions to the present day. Patrick 
Henry, the orator and patriot, was the son of a Scot named John 
Henry. Of the presidents of the United States, Monroe, Hayes, 
Grant, the Roosevelts, and Wilson are of Scottish descent. In Wash- 
ington’s first cabinet, out of four members, two were Scots and a 
third was an Ulster Scot: Edmond Randolph, Alexander Hamilton, 
and Henry Knox. In other phases of American politics the Scots 
have been represented by such names as John C. Calhoun, Jefferson 
Davis, James G. Blaine, J. C. Breckinridge, the Livingstons, Chauncey 
Mitchell Depew, Stephen A. Douglas, William McKinley, and count- 
less others. Sam Houston, president of the Republic of Texas and 
first representative of the state of Texas in the United States Senate, 
was of Scottish blood. Daniel Webster was descended from the New 
Hampshire Scots. In the Civil War, Scots and their descendants were 
prominent on both sides. General U. S. Grant and Robert E. Lee 
were both of Scottish descent. Admiral John Paul Jones, the most 
famous of the old-time American sea-fighters and the first commodore 
of the American Navy, was a Scottish lad of thirteen when he saw 
America for the first time. 

Robert Lenox, founder of the Presbyterian Hospital and the Lenox 
Library in New York, was one of the five wealthiest New Yorkers 
for years before his death in 1840. Numerous American educators 
have been of Scottish descent. William and Mary College, preceded 
only by Harvard, was founded by a Scot, James Blair. An Ayrshire 
man, James McCosh, was another president of Princeton University. 
Dr. John H. Finley, former commissioner of education of the state 
of New York, is of that background. In more recent years, James 
MacAlister was one of the foremost American educators. William 
McLure has been called “the father of American geology.” John 
Muir, geologist and explorer, was the author of many books on natural 
science; after him is named the great Muir Glacier ift. Alaska. Peter 
Cooper built the first locomotive in the United States. Alexander 
Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, was born in Edinburgh. 
The telegraph depends today on the inventions of Joseph Henry and 
F. B. Morse. Cyrus Hall McCormick invented the reaping machine. 
James Scott and George Lauder helped to build Pittsburgh’s great 
steel industries. 

Other great names in American life include: James Fenimore 
Cooper, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, James Gordon Bennett, 
Whitelaw Reid, Arthur Brisbane, Horace Greeley, and Andrew 
Carnegie. All were either born in Scotland or were of Scottish 



Like their fellow immigrants from England, but to a somewhat 
lesser degree, the Scots have merged into the composite that is 
America. They are a minority group only in the sense that they 
represent another of the many rivulets coming from foreign shores, 
blending easily and quite unconsciously into the current of American 
life, and contributing much to its richness and beauty. 


The Welsh came to the United States with the Puritans, the 
Huguenots, and the Cavaliers. The first Welsh immigrant of histor- 
ical fame is Roger Williams, but even before him, in 1620, had come 
John Alden, and in 1630, Edward Garfield, the ancestor of our 
twentieth president. Among the first settlers of Pennsylvania who 
landed here in 1682 were a large number from Wales, mostly Quakers 
from the vicinity of Dolgetan. Thereafter the immigration continued 
for many years, and Welshmen could be found in all settlements from 
the woods of Maine to the pines of Florida, and as far west as the 
Alleghenies. In fact, in the early days of Philadelphia, the Welsh 
language was freely spoken in its streets and market places, and Welsh 
Quakers bought the Welsh Tract, now a suburb of that city. Al- 
though their language is no longer spoken there, names tell the story 
of their origin. The maps of southeastern Pennsylvania are thickly 
dotted with Welsh names — Merion, Gwynedd, Pencader, Maldwyn, 
Bryn-Mawr, Haverford, Berwyn, North Wales, and others. The 
decline of the Welsh in Philadelphia and vicinity after the Revolution 
discouraged further emigration there^^ and many of those who 
remained turned to other states. Between 1796 and 1802, Welsh 
settlements started in other portions of Pennsylvania, New York, 
Ohio, and Maine. In Maine are found many Welsh place names such 
as Bangor, Monmouth, and Wales. 

Although the United States census of 1940 states that we have 
approximately 50,000 foreign-bom Welsh, the Welsh themselves esti- 
mate the number at 250,000 to 300,000,^^^ including those bom here 
of Welsh parents. There is hardly a state without its Welsh Day, 
its Welsh church, or its eisteddfod. Gwyl Dewi is commemorated 
wherever a few Welshmen can gather together. In general, however, 
the largest number live in Pennsylvania, with a lesser number in New 
York, Ohio, Illin ois, and Michigan. The larger proportion of them 

F. J. Harries, “Welshmen and the United States,” Qlamourgan County Times, 
1927, p. 17; Erasmus W. Jones, “The Welsh in America,” Atlantic Monthly^ March, 
1876, pp. 305-313; H. N. Casson, ‘Welsh in America,” Munsey'^s Magazine, 1905- 

1906, Vol. 35, pp. 749-7J4- 



are miners and consequently are concentrated in mining areas. Per- 
chance the W elshman has had to learn the English language in Amer- 
ica. But that does not prevent him from heading the list of the United 
States naturalized citizens (in 1940, over 75 per cent had been natu- 

The contributions of the Welsh to American life have been many 
and varied. They did much to establish our iron business, and more 
still for our coal industry. In addition to being themselves capable 
miners, they have contributed to the development of the industry. 
David Thomas came in 1840 and became “the father of the American 
iron business” by developing the hot-blast and the first big furnaces. 
Marshall Owen Roberts was one of the founders of the Erie, Lacka- 
wanna, and Texas Pacific Railroad; George B. Roberts was for many 
years president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

David Lloyd, chief justice, Thomas Lloyd, first governor of Penn- 
sylvania, and D. Thomas Wynn, speaker of the first Assembly, were 
Welsh. Meriwether Lewis was a member of the noted Lewis and 
Clark expedition. Elihu Yale gave $4,000 to a little college at New 
Haven and so perpetuated his name in one of our greatest institutions 
of learning. Brown University came into existence as the result of 
the efforts of the Welsh ministers, the Reverend Morgan Edwards and 
Dr. Samuel Jones. Ephraim Williams (1715-1755), the founder of 
Williams College, developed the first observatory in the United States. 
Charles Evans Hughes, the chief justice of the United States Supreme 
Court, has a Welsh lineage. The same applies to Jonathan Edwards, 
one of America’s greatest clesgymen, and to J. J. Davis, former secre- 
tary of labor. Robert Owen, the first great social reformer, came 
here in 1823 from Wales. Other leaders of Welsh descent include 
John L. Lewis, labor organizer, D. W. Griffith of motion-picture 
fame, and J. Pierpont Morgan, financier. The following past presi- 
dents are claimed to have been men of Welsh origin or partly of 
Welsh descent; John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John 
Q. Adams, W. H. Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and General Gar- 

Thus, in spite of their small numbers, the Welsh immigrants and 
their descendants have made an indelible mark on every state in the 
Union and throughout our history. In many communities, especially 
in the mining areas, they have retained a greater degree of autonomy 
than have either the Scots or the English. This is perhaps natural 
because of at least two factors: language and greater local and occu- 
pational unity. 



A. J. Reilly 

There is an old tradition that the first European to set foot on the 
soil of the new world was an Irish sailor whom Columbus had 
recruited in Galway for his expedition; but long before Christopher 
Columbus set out upon his momentous voyage this western land was 
known to the Irish. From earliest times the voyage and vision liter- 
ature of the Celts dealt with a land beyond the rim of the western sea 
whither chosen heroes and champions journeyed to reap the rewards 
of their valor. No doubt these tales exerted a powerful influence on 
the minds of later Christian missionaries, tales of whose westward 
voyages are numerous. The most widely known of these was the 
Navigatio of St. Brendan, founder of the monastery of Clonfert. 
The Navigatio is a Latin account of the missionary journeys of this 
sixth century cleric which took him as far west as the coast of North 

The first recorded settlement of Irish colonists, however, was in 
1621 on the site of the present city of Newport News. It may have 
been this colony to which Reverend Andrew White, S.J., referred in 
his Narrative of a Voyage to Maryland. Father White accompanied 
Lord Baltimore’s first group of colonists in 1633. To avoid the 
Spanish fleet, the expedition put in at Montserrat. “The inhabi- 
tants,” wrote Father White, “are Irishmen who were banished by 
the English of Virginia on account of their professing the Catholic 

From the records of the Massachusetts colony we learn that in 1634 
a settlement of “Irish and Schottische gentlemen with considerable 
quantity of equipment and merchandise” was made on the Merrimack 
River. In the same year, we leam from the diary of Governor 
Winthrop, “Darby Field, an Irishman” explored the White Moun- 
tains. In 1640 William Collins, with a band of Irish refugees from 
the Barbados, settled in New Hampshire where Collins immediately 
opened a school. This was the period of the “plantations” in Ireland, 
and English shipmasters made considerable sums transporting the dis- 
possessed Irish landowners seized by the English to the Barbados 
where frequently they were sold into slavery. 

The real beginning of large-scale Irish immigration was about the 
middle of the century. Cromwell as lord lieutenant of Ireland was 
attempting by fire and sword to make the country into an English 



Puritan settlement. The entire population of the three provinces, 
Ulster, Munster, and Leinster, was driven out and their lands appor- 
tioned among Cromwell’s followers. They had the choice of seek- 
ing homes in the desolate and rocky mountain regions of west 
Connaught or being shot on sight if they remained on their lands. 
Thousands of the dispossessed fled or were forcibly transported to 
America. In the year 1 649 a single vessel embarked with one hundred 
and seventy Irish persons for the “plantations in America.” In 1650 
another vessel brought one hundred Irish men and women to the 
Virginia colony. In 1651 one thousand Irish emigrants left Bristol, 
England, for the New England colonies. In 1653 the Kelly and 
Healy famihes from Galway established the first white settlement 
in Maine. In 1654 the vessel Goodfello'W brought four hundred Irish 
“redemptioners” to New England. In 1655 two thousand persons 
were shipped from Ireland to the Barbados and the American colonies. 
Between 1652 and 1655 approximately six thousand five hundred Irish 
were landed at various American ports, and it is estimated that by 1660 
ten thousand Irish had been scattered among the thirteen colonies. 

The majority of these settlers were from the former large land- 
owning class, but toward the end of the century the type of immi- 
gration changed. Large numbers of business men, artisans and skilled 
workers of all kinds, especially weavers, were forced to flee from 
Ireland when the English trade and navigation acts ruined Irish indus- 
tries. In the new world there was need for their crafts and ample 
opportunities for themselves and their children. Among the first 
purchasers who embarked with William Penn in 1682 were a number 
of Irish families from the towns of Wexford and Cashel. Because 
of its liberal laws, Pennsylvania became extremely popular with Irish 
immigrants who found scant welcome in colonies where liberty of 
conscience was not allowed. Penn’s secretary, James Logan from 
County Armagh, was “the most remarkable inhabitant of the English 
colonies during the first half of the eighteenth century,” says his 
descendant, Logan Pearsall Smith, in Unforgotten Yean. As the 
agent for William Penn he held successively every important office 
in the gift of the colony. He was an accomplished linguist, a master 
mathematician, and a widely known botanist. He was one of Frank- 
lin’s first patrons and bequeathed his library, the finest in America, 
to the Philadelphia Library founded by Franklin. 

A contemporary of Logan’s was Thomas Dongan, Pennsylvania’s 
first schoolmaster, son of a Dubhn merchant and kinsman of Governor 
Dongan of New York. George Talbot from Castle Rooney in 



County Roscommon was the first solicitor general of Maryland, and 
Charles Carroll, grandfather of the signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, was the first proprietary governor. In 1683 two Irish 
settlements were made in New Jersey. The strength of the Irish ele- 
ment in the colonies at the close of the seventeenth century and their 
close relations with the motherland can be judged from the fact that 
in 1686 the ship Katherine from Dublin arrived in Boston laden with 
supplies for the relief of the victims of King Philip’s war. This “Irish 
donation” we learn from the records of the Massachusetts colony was 
divided among five hundred towns and gave relief to some three 
thousand persons. 

The tide of Irish immigration reached the flood during the eight- 
eenth century when, according to Froude in The English in Ireland, 
not enough ships could be found to carry those fleeing to America. 
The penal laws against Catholics, the Test Act against Presbyterians, 
the trade and navigation acts against all Irish industry and commerce 
spread economic ruin throughout the country, which was aggravated 
by the famine of 1740, only a little less disastrous than that which 
occurred a century later. Between 1714 and 1720 fifty-four ships 
arrived in Boston with Irish immigrants who were induced to settle 
along the frontier and in Maine and New Hampshire. In 1720 
there were so many Irish in Massachusetts that the general court 
ordered that “certain Irish families recently arrived from Ireland be 
warned to move off.” In 1723 an ordinance was passed requiring the 
registration of all Irish immigrants. In Philadelphia the number of 
Irish in 1728 was estimated at five thousand. Within two years, from 
1771 to 1773, some thirty thousand emigrants left the northern prov- 
ince of Ulster alone. 

Some American writers refer to this immigration as “Scotch Irish” 
or “Ulster Scottish” and claim that these immigrants were neither 
Irish nor Scottish, but a nationality distinct from both. There is, 
however, no factual basis for this assertion. Colonial and early 
nineteenth century writers, as George Chambers, refer to Scots and 
Irish, but make no mention of a third group. The distinction did 
not arise until about the middle of the nineteenth century and coin- 
cided with the rise of the Know-Nothing movement, which was 
especially directed against Irish immigrants professing the Catholic 
faith. Probably William Willis, who in 1858 compiled a history of 
the McKonstry family, was the first to use the term Scotch-Irish. 
No doubt some Irish were pleased to be dissociated from those 
“foteigners” whom Know-Nothingism had made unpopular and wel- 



corned the distinction “Scotch-Irish” and the myth of a distinct na- 
tionality, but the general Irish attitude is expressed by Thomas Hunter, 
founder and first president of Hunter College of the City of New 
York and one of those frequently described as “Scotch-Irish.” In 
his Autobiography he writes, “I was born in Ireland as were my 
parents and grandparents, and that makes me Irish, and I am proud 
of it.” 

No accurate statistics cover the Irish immigration during the colonial 
period; but that the Irish outnumbered other racial groups seems to 
have been accepted by contemporary writers. That they brought 
to America a hatred of tyranny, especially as represented by the 
English government, strong enough to precipitate the Revolution, 
to carry it to a victorious close, to carry the young country through 
its second War for Independence, and to remain a force in American 
life until after the turn of the present century is equally true. Douglas 
Campbell in The Puritan in Holland, England, and America says of 
the Irish, “By them American independence was first openly advo- 
cated and but for their efforts seconding those of the New England 
Puritans, that independence would not have been secured.” Joseph 
Galloway, testifying at the British parliamentary investigation into the 
cause and conduct of the American war, asserted that fully half the 
continental army was Irish; but Michael J. O’Brien, who has done 
painstaking research on the subject, places the figure at 38 per cent. 
David Ramsay, historian of South Carohna, says, “The colonists which 
now form the United States may be considered as Europe trans- 
planted. Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Switzer- 
land, Poland and Italy furnished the original stock of the present 
population, and are generally supposed to have contributed to it in 
the order named. For the last seventy or eighty years no nation has 
contributed so much to the population of America as Ireland.” 

Irish immigrants were among the pioneers who opened up the great 
West. John Lewis from Donegal led the first group of settlers to 
the Shenandoah Valley. An Indian trader named Doherty was the 
first white man known to have penetrated the wilderness of Kentucky, 
and a fellow countryman and explorer, James McBride, fired the spirit 
of adventure in Daniel Boone. Patrick Kelly explored Utah, and 
the first dwelling erected by a white man in what is now the state 
of Oklahoma was built by Hugh McGarry in 1790. Northern New 
York was explored by two brothers from Limerick, Michael and 
Nicholas MacDonald, who established themselves on the shore of 
what is now Ballston Lake. The sons of Irish parents, the Creighton 



brothers, opened up Nebraska, established Omaha as a thriving city 
and there founded Creighton University. 

Celtic genius for organization early made the Irish a force in the 
pohtical life of the country. In 1789 the Tammany Society was 
founded in New York by an ex-Revolutionary soldier, William 
Mooney, to combat property qualifications for voters urged by the 
wealthy Tories. The first post-Revolutionary mayor of New York 
City was James Duane, son of Anthony Duane of Cork. In 1774 
Christopher Colics, who had emigrated from Dublin ten years earlier, 
began work on a water-supply system for New York City and in 1784 
presented a plan to the New York Assembly for the construction of 
a canal to connect the city with the Great Lakes. Less than a genera- 
tion later the Erie Canal was built by DeWitt Clinton, whose ancestors 
came from County Longford. The first governor of the state of 
Georgia was the Irishman, John Houston, and John Boyle, son of 
Irish immigrants, was the first governor of Illinois. The city of 
Denver was named for the family of John Denver who became the 
first governor of Kansas. The Irish-born William Claiborne was the 
first governor of the state of Louisiana, and Irish governors guided 
the development of the territories of Oregon, Mississippi, and Mon- 
tana, the most famous of whom was Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish 
revolutionary. Civil War hero, and secretary and temporary governor 
of the Montana territory. 

The influx of political refugees during the early years of the nine- 
teenth century gave America such distinguished families as the 
Emmets, the MacNevens, the Guineys, and others. Business and 
professional men, they turned their considerable talents to the serv- 
ice of the country of their adoption. As a colonial commentator 
wrote of the Irish of his day, “They became thoroughly American 
from the moment of their arrival.” Thomas Addis Emmet, brother 
of Robert Emmet, soon after his arrival in this country was admitted 
by special act to the New York State Bar. William James MacNeven 
was appointed lecturer on clinical medicine in the newly established 
College of Physicians and Surgeons two years after his arrival in this 
country. Co-editor of the New York Medical Journal and author 
of a number of scientific works, including Exposition of the Atomic 
Theory, his best-known work, he was the leading exponent of “those 
discoveries and doctrines which raised chemistry into a science.” 

About the middle of the century occurred the great famine which 
all but wiped out Ireland’s agricultural population. During the 
centuries of foreign occupation, the island had become practically a 



one-crop country. When that crop failed three years in succession, 
the plight of the people was indescribable. All who could fled. 
Immigration to the United States rose from 50,724 for the decade 
between 1820 and 1830 to 914,119 for the decade from 1850 to i860. 
Thereafter for nearly three quarters of a century the bulk of Irish 
immigration came from the rural areas, the small tenant farmers, farm 
laborers, and other unskilled workers. They provided the labor for 
our fields, mines, and factories. They built our railroads and our 
telegraph and telephone lines. They also built our churches and 
schools and colleges and made notable contributions to our cultural 
life as teachers, writers, and journalists. To the son of an Irish 
immigrant from Wexford, Patrick Tracy Jackson, New England 
owes her supremacy in cotton manufacturing, as she owes her pride 
in literary achievements to men and women of Irish ancestry such 
as E. L. Godkin, founder of the Nation, John Boyle O’Reilly, editor 
of the Pilot, the Jameses, Louise Imogen Guiney, and others. In 
other sections the names of Fulton, Morse, McCormick, inventors. 
Shea and O’Callaghan, historians, Thomas Hunter and Brother Azarius 
(Patrick Francis MuUany) educators, Michael Maurice O’Shaugh- 
nessey, engineer, John Concannon who introduced grape-growing 
and wine-making to California, testify to the widespread immigration 
and varied activities of the Irish in this country up to the close of the 
nineteenth century. 

From i860 forward immigration from Ireland decreased. The 
total immigration for the decade ending in 1937 was less than one 
hundred thousand with a steady decline to the present. Land tenure 
and improved economic conditions in Ireland have contributed to 
this decline in emigration, but the principal factor is the independence 
which the greater part of Ireland now enjoys. 

Decline in political influence and importance of Irish Americans 
as a group has kept pace with the decline in immigration. During 
the nineteenth century, the bulk of the new immigrants afliliated with 
one political party and to some extent colored party policies. 
Today, however, Irish Americans are to be found in all parties, 
but are without the numerical strength to appreciably affect party 
policies. The Irish were probably the largest single group opposed 
to the Lend-Lease program and supporting the America-First move- 
ment prior to our entrance into World War II; yet, since they were 
scattered among the various parties, their opposition was ineffectual. 
During the administration of Grover Cleveland, however, when 
the Irish were concentrated in one party, they were able to secure 



the recall of the British ambassador, Lord Sackville-West, for im- 
prudently interfering in an American election. 

Similarly the Irish no longer form a distinct group in the armed 
forces. In earlier wars the military genius of the Celt, for which 
he had been famed from time immemorial, shed luster on American 
arms. The part taken by the Irish in the Revolutionary War has 
been exhaustively treated by Michael J. O’Brien in his Hidden Phase 
of American History. In our Second War for Independence, in the 
Mexican War, and in the Civil War men hke MacDonagh, Jackson, 
Kearney, Corcoran, and Sheridan won imperishable glory. “In all 
the records of the Civil War,” wrote the New England Puritan, 
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “there was no such thing as an Irish 
coward.” Irish regiments, as the old New York Sixty-ninth, long 
kept up cultural traditions among the rank and file, being constantly 
filled by volunteers from their own numbers. 

Modern mechanized warfare has changed all this. Volunteer 
armies are no longer desired. Selective service has superseded the 
old system and has completely eradicated the stigma that once attached 
to the man who waited to be drafted into his country’s service. As 
taxation is determined by duly constituted authority and the citizen 
pays without question, so today the draft board determines when 
citizens within military age shall be called to the service. The entire 
male population of military age may be looked upon as a reserve force 
subject to call. There is no particular distinction in simply obeying 
the law. It is what is expected of all citizens. Likewise in actual 
combat a single group cannot claim as a virtue what is common to all, 
and in modem warfare, directed from far behind the lines and over 
vast areas of earth and air, personal leadership and individual heroism 
have ceased to be vital factors. The principle underlying modem 
warfare is similar to that of mass production in industry. 

We may expect a postwar world as different from that of the past 
as modem warfare is from that of earlier wars. Questions concerning 
foreign and domestic policies, education, economics, and social serv- 
ices, the very form of government itself, will have to be decided. 
The position that Irish Americans may be expected to take on these 
questions may be judged from their past. From the first appearance 
of the Celt upon the world’s stage he has been an individualist, an iso- 
lationist, and vitally concerned with the spiritual. Thus we may 
expect that Irish Americans, faced with two diametrically opposed 
concepts of government, will combat the communal idea in any form, 
the formation of a world state under whatever control, and the exten- 



sioh of paternalism in government. Half a century ago John Boyle 
O’Reilly expressed the hereditary Irish view of government: The 
bottom right,” he wrote, “is the right of man not of the state.” These 
expected trends may be deflected, however, by other influences. \Ve 
have seen that immigration has practically ceased. Today Irish 
Americans are for the most part two or more generations removed 
from the original stock, and the farther from the source, the weaker 
the cultural characteristics. 

The cultural influence of the Irish may be strengthened in the 
future. American institutions of learning on the whole have been 
slow to grasp the significance of the Irish Literary Revival, which has 
dominated the literary history of the present century. However, 
during the decade preceding the outbreak of the war, indications 
were not lacking that our educators were becoming more alive to the 
implications of the movement. Irish Americans, themselves, no 
longer preoccupied with politics and government, have become more 
conscious of the early contributions of their people to civihzation as 
well as to the history of their own country. It is, however, impossible 
to predict postwar trends. Influences unsuspected as yet may turn 
the course of our civilization into entirely new channels. 

Whatever the trends may be, the Irish in the United States, im- 
mersed in American life, present no immigration problem principally 
because the immigration from Ireland was not the usual exodus of 
surplus population or escape of adventurous or undisciplined spirits. 
It was the flight of a whole people from unbearable conditions im- 
posed upon the nation by a foreign power which was able neither to 
subdue nor to placate. A sense of finality attended their departure 
from their native land. They entered the United States as permanent 
citizens and spent themselves with incomparable prodigality in the 
service of the land they adopted as their own. They contributed 
little to the crimmal class, although, because of their tendency to con- 
gregate in congested urban areas, an undesirable type of citizen, the 
petty grafter, the unscrupulous ward leader, the venal politician, 
found it easy to thrive. 

The Irish immigrant needed no schooling in American ideas of 
democratic government in which he saw the realization of his own 
and his forefathers’ dreams. He brought to this country his “living 
faith in another world,” in the words of Daniel Corkery, and, clinging 
tenaciously to the faith of his fathers, he helped to keep religion an 
integral part of American life and to hold back for a generation the 
rising tide of materialism. As early as 1683 Francis Makemie, “father 



of Presb37terianism in America,” came from Ramelton in Donegal 
to preach to the scattered Presbyterians and for twenty years “rode 
missionary” in Maryland. In like manner a group of Irish colonists 
founded Methodism in this country, and Irish immigrants laid the 
foundations and were the principal element in the growth of the 
Catholic Church in America. They and their children have provided 
the laity for the new congregations and a large percentage of the 
clergy who minister to these congregations. They have been the 
mainstay of some seven thousand Cathohc schools and a thousand 
Catholic colleges and universities throughout the country. Their 
interest in the land of their forefathers is largely sentimental and 
entirely secondary to their primary interest, the United States of 
America, to which they have given much and received much in return. 


B. J. Hovde 

Although scattered individuals had come to the United States in 
earlier periods, the Norwegian immigration is commonly dated from 
October, 1825, when the first organized company arrived in New 
York on the sloop Restaurationen. Quakers, who felt themselves 
religiously persecuted, they were led by their “scout” Cleng Peerson 
to settle in Kendall Township, New York state. Not until 1836 did 
another considerable group of Norwegians (about 200) depart for 
America, lured by the account of a returned member of the “sloop” 
colony. This group settled on the Fox River, in La Salle County, 
Illinois, and inaugurated the great midwestem Norwegian settlement. 
Thereafter the movement became a steadily growing flood, reaching 
its climax between the Civil War and the first World War. Between 
1836 and 1943, approximately 850,000 persons of Norwegian birth 
settled in the United States. (Until i860, immigration statistics of 
Norwegians and Swedes were combined.) 

The era of large-scale Norwegian immigration ended with the 
American restrictive legislation of 1924. Even before that date the 
proportion of Norwegian-born in the American population had begun 
to decline; it was 3.5 per cent in 1890, but only 2.3 per cent in 1940* 
The United States census of 1940 gives 262,088 of Norwegian birth 
and 662,600 native born of Norwegian parentage. 

No adequate statement of tfie reasons behind this immigration 
possible. Religious persecutions and dissatisfaction certainly played 
some part in the earlier stages. Another oft-cited reason was the 



alleged hauteur and insolence of the public officials in Norway, symp- 
tomatic of the social revolt that eventually democratized Norway 
both in politics and administration. But far more important were 
economic considerations. Between 1750 and 1850, the population 
of Norway increased from 625,000 to 1,399,733, or almost 125 per 
cent. The same period brought a notable improvement in the econ- 
omy of the country, but the rate was not so great as was the rate of 
population increase, particularly in the rural districts, which comprised 
about 90 per cent of the population. Long before Norwegian emi- 
grants became pioneers in America, there was much pioneering 
activity in the home country, for the growing population pushed the 
forests back to make room for the plow, even on very inferior land. 
Nevertheless, it was necessary in many districts to parcel the farms 
among many heirs, with the result that the parcels became too small 
to sustain a family in decency and dignity. The class of married 
agricultural laborers, with little or no land to cultivate for their own 
use, the so-called husmaend, or crofters, increased rapidly, causing 
wages to decline so much that this group usually lived in dire misery. 
In 1845 crofters constituted 26 per cent of the rural population. 
It was very plain then that agriculture could not support all of the 
people who were trying to live by it. Meanwhile, urban activities, 
commerce, and industry were expanding but slowly; and to make 
matters worse, these occupations were not free to anyone who might 
wish to enter them but were monopolized by the guilds or held under 
legal privilege. Shut off from a livelihood both in town and country, 
many people naturally began to seek the means of existence outside 
of Norway. In 1839, legislation had been adopted that abolished 
most of the occupational monopolies, but the good effects thereof 
could but slowly become apparent. The late 1840’s and the early 
1850’s were therefore marked by an acute social crisis, manifesting 
itself in widespread poverty, a high rate of jail commitments, a higher 
illegitimate birth rate, the appearance of radical social theory, and in 
emigration. Once begun, emigration fluctuated with the trend of 
economic conditions both in Norway and in the United States, though 
it should be noted that not until 1857 did Norwegian business and 
finance become very sensitive to the movements of the world economic 

But why did these Norwegians choose to come to the United States 
and to particular areas there? America in the eighteenth century 
was beginning to be known as a land of heroes and of freedom. The 
Norwegians began to admire the ideas of the American Revolution 



and its representatives, Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. Mer- 
chants and the small Quaker colony in Stavanger had direct American 
connections. The American Declaration of Independence and the 
Constitution of 1789 were treasured in many households. With the 
arrival of the first colony in 1 825, contact became direct. Thereafter, 
the letters written by emigrants to their relatives and friends at home, 
the so-called “America letters,” spread news of the opportunities to 
be found in the new world. They were often read aloud in groups, 
copied and passed from hand to hand, and even printed in the news- 
papers. With every new emigrant, the number of such letters grew. 
As Professor Theodore C. Blegen has shown, the influence of these 
documents from the hands of acquaintances whose veracity could 
not be doubted was almost incalculable. Soon there began to appear 
another more formal and complete body of information about Amer- 
ica, the most suitable locations for setdement, and the best way to 
travel — namely the “America-books,” one of the earliest and most 
influential of which was Ole Rynning’s True Account of America, 
for the Information and Help of Peasant and Commoner, Published in 
Christiania, 18^8. Inevitably, as soon as emigration began to assume 
some proportions, shipowners, who might profit by transportation, 
began to drum up business for themselves by sending agents into the 
country districts. 

No adequate records exist that indicate to what social classes or 
occupations the emigrants belonged. This much is clear, however, 
that until about 1871-1875 the movement was predominantly rural. 
Furthermore, the emigrants seem to have come mainly from the class 
of small, peasant proprietors. The crofters, who were married agri- 
cultural laborers, seldom were able to find money for passage, and 
the better-situated farmers usually preferred the good living they 
already possessed to any American adventure, although they fre- 
quently helped their younger children to emigrate. In spite of the 
fact that crofters found it hard to leave Norway, there can be no 
doubt that emigration was an important factor in the practical dis- 
appearance of this class in Norway, for a large number of the agri- 
cultural servant class, who would have become crofters as soon as 
they married, departed to seek their fortunes in the United States. 
Petty owners of land in Norway often found themselves so encum- 
bered by debt and so weighted down by taxation that it seemed 
wise to trade their equities for passage money to America. After the 
five-year period 1871—1875, emigration became more an urban and 
industrial than a rural phenomenon. Between 1891 and 1925, 17.7^^ 



per cent of the Norwegian emigrants were listed in the official statistics 
as farmers, 25.5 per cent as craftsmen, 12.0 per cent as merchants 
and seamen, 36.25 per cent as laborers, and 8.5 per cent as miscel- 

The first settlements, in New York and Illinois, did not attract many 
subsequent arrivals. Wisconsin, where the first Norwegian pioneers 
estabhshed a colony at Muskego, near Milwaukee, in 1839, became 
the goal of most emigrants prior to 1850. In 1914, there were Nor- 
wegians living in almost all of that state, but the great, concentrated 
settlements were in the south-central part, with Dane County as a 
center. Norwegians began to move into the northern tier of Iowa 
counties, particularly Winneshiek, beginning about 1850, and into 
the south-eastern counties of Minnesota at about the same time. By 
1914, there were more Norwegians in Minnesota than in any other 
state. North and South Dakota began to receive Norwegians about 
r86o, and today this element constitutes a larger percentage of their 
populations than of the population of Minnesota. Montana, Wash- 
ington, and Oregon attracted many Norwegian immigrants after 
about 1880. 

) As long as they came chiefly from the rural communities, most of 
them sought farms in the United States; but when the towns of 
Norway began to contribute a large part of the stream, the number 
who sought a living in the American urban communities increased. 
Between 1920 and 1930, the number of Norwegian foreign-bom 
residents increased in the industrial states — Connecticut, Massachu- 
setts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania; 
declined considerably in the agricultural states — Iowa, Minnesota, 
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; but increased 
slightly in Washington and Oregon, and considerably in California. 

In 1930 Minnesota had 267,953 persons who were either immi- 
grants or children of immigrants from Norway, and in 1940 counted 
52,025 immigrants. The corresponding figures for Wisconsin were 
approximately 125,000 and 23,211; for North Dakota approximately 

125.000 and 21,637. Washington, New York, and Illinois had about 

75.000 immigrants and children of immigrants each in 1930; but the 
same states had in 1940 only the following numbers of immigrants; 
2 6,489, 3 7, 1 64, and 21,508 respectively. The tendency to avoid large 
cities is shown by the fact that of all American cities with more than 

100.000 people only four, in 1940, had more than 5,000 of Norwegian 
birth: New Yorlt, 30,750 (of which 20,2 14 are in Brooklyn) ; Chicago, 
14,933; Minneapolis, 11,777; Seattle, 8,436. 


The census of 1930 affords even more precise information on the 
preference of Norwegians for rural areas. Of all the “foreign white 
stock” — that is, immigrants and children, one or both of whose parents 
are immigrants — ^in all American urban communities (2,500 or over) 
only 1.8 per cent are listed as Norwegian, whereas in rural commu- 
nities (under 2,500) 6.1 per cent are so listed. When the “rural 
communities” are broken down into the categories “rural-farm” 
(actual farms) and “rural nonfarm” (villages), the census indicates 
that in the “rural-farm” areas, 8.4 per cent of the “foreign white 
stock” is Norwegian, while only 4.1 per cent is so hsted in the “rural 
nonfarm” areas. The equivalent figures in the 1940 census are: 
1.8 per cent “urban,” 3.9 per cent “rural nonfarm,” and 7.7 per cent 
“rural-farm.” No previous census showed this stock beyond the 
children of direct immigrants. If the 1940 census had done so, it 
would certainly have been apparent that third- and fourth-generation 
descendants of Norwegian immigrants to an even greater degree than 
second-generation have participated fuUy in the general movement 
of the American population away from rural to urban areas, where 
generally speaking they have completely lost even the last vestiges of 
their Norwegian origin. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Religion. It is safe to say that the zeal of the Norwegian immi-* 
grants in affording themselves and their children the opportunities of 
cultural development has equaled that of any foreign group. By 
far the greater number of the Norwegian-speaking church members 
have remained faithful to the Lutheran doctrine; in 1916, 96.7 per 
cent of the communicants using the Norwegian language were 
Lutherans, and only 3.3 per cent were non-Lutherans. But in that 
year, the Lutheran communicant membership using Norwegian was 
only 342,817 and the number of congregations only 3,138; therefore, 
most of the Norwegian immigrants and their descendants have either 
become unchurched or have joined non-Lutheran English-speaking 
congregations. Almost all of the churches employing the Norwegian 
language have for thirty years or more also used English, and in 1936 
the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America first voted to drop the 
word “Norwegian” from its name. Although the Norwegian immi- 
grants brought no special social or racial divisions with them from the 
old country, nevertheless they have almost from the beginning been 
badly divided on religious issues. Leaving out of account the com- 
paratively small number who have organized non-Lutheran church 


bodies, the theologically minded Norwegian Lutherans have, until 
recently, maintained some six or seven different corporations, differ- 
ing from one another but little in doctrine, somewhat more in the 
character of their services, and very markedly in emotional attitude. 

The Norwegians in America have at various times founded, main- 
tained, and lost almost every kind of school. Parochial day schools 
were maintained by many congregations, almost from the first; but 
the second generation has generally given them up in favor of the 
public school. Secondary religious schools or academies were 
founded in more than fifty different communities between i860 and 
1 890; but few of them survived more than ten years, and now there 
are practically none left. A few normal schools and “ladies’ semi- 
naries” were maintained for a number of years, only to become extinct, 
along with the academies, in the 1920’s. Colleges have been sup- 
ported with more zeal and success. Luther College in Decorah, 
Iowa (1861), and St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (1874), are 
the oldest, best-equipped, and largest Norwegian- American colleges. 
Others are Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; Augustana Col- 
lege, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Pacific Lutheran College, Park- 
land, Washington. All of these colleges are now coeducational, 
Luther College first admitting women in 1936. In the founding of 
all these colleges the primary motive was to train candidates for the 
theological seminaries of the various church bodies. The one im- 
portant remaining institution of the last type is Luther Seminary in 
St. Paul, Minnesota. 

The press. The history of the Norwegian- American press is long 
and varied. The first Norwegian newspaper in America was 
Nordlyset (Northern Lights), pubhshed by J. D. Reymert in 
Muskego, Wisconsin, 1 847-1849. It championed the Free Soil Party. 
Since then and until 1917, it has been estimated that more than 450 
newspapers and periodicals in the Norwegian language were founded, 
an overwhelming proportion of them lasting less than five years. This 
number includes rehgious as well as secular journals. The two 
leading secular newspapers still appearing are Decorah Fasten 
(Decorah, Iowa) and Skandinaven (Chicago, Illinois). Both were 
founded in 1866, and thus span the period of heaviest Norwegian 
immigration. Politically they are independent. 

Organizations. The organized social fife of the Norwegians in 
America has revolved largely around their churches, but it has been 
almost unthinkable for the members of one body to join in the social 
life of any other. There has been a considerable improvement in 



this respect since 1917, when the three largest church bodies merged 
to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America. Church meet- 
ings, church picnics, church socials, young people’s gatherings in the 
basements of the churches or at the homes of members, ladies’ aid 
societies, men’s religious clubs, mission festivals, and revival meetings 
in one or two of the church bodies — ^these have composed most of 
the social activities of the organized immigrants and their children. 
Dances have been viewed with considerable disfavor among them, 
owing to the austere influence of both the high-church and the low- 
church tendencies. The Norwegians in America have been ardent 
lovers of music. Singing societies have flourished in considerable num- 
bers, and those of Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York have attained 
no little renown in American music circles. Outstanding have been 
the achievements of the St. Olaf College Choir, directed by F. Melius 
Christiansen, and the Luther College Concert Band, directed by Carlo 
A. Sperati. There have been, and still are, a large number of societies 
among the Norwegian Americans, Of special importance are the 
various bygdelag, or societies, of the immigrants who have come from 
some particular province in Norway together with such of their 
descendants as retain an interest in the old home. The Sons and 
Daughters of Norway are fraternal orders, but inasmuch as Norwegian 
Lutheranism has officially been opposed to secret societies, these 
fraternities have supplied the organizational needs chiefly of the im- 
migrants whose religious interests have been weak or nonexistent; 
they flourish almost only in the cities. None of these secular societies 
own much property. Their twofold patriotic character is evidenced 
by the fact that among the first and second generations, May 17 and 
July 4, national holidays in Norway and America, respectively, have 
been celebrated with equal democratic fervor in the denser settle- 
ments. However, the third generation almost never observes May 17. 

Naturalization. Very few Norwegian immigrants have been sub- 
ject to conscious Americanization influences. Nevertheless, their 
assimilation has been comparatively rapid. Generally they have been 
quick to learn the English language as spoken in America; at least they 
have usually developed a kind of pidgin English by a liberal admixture 
of Eng lish with Norwegian, and Norwegians in Norway have learned 
not to expect the returned emigrattt to speak pure Norwegian. Only 
in the most densely populated Norwegijan settlements, where almost 
every family is of that stock, has the Norwegian language preserved 
itself alongside the English. Today it is rapidly disappearing even 
diere. Politically and socially the assimilation has been almost com- 



plete in- the second generation. The responsibilities of democracy 
were not new to any of the Norwegian immigrants, for the Consti- 
tution of May 17, 1814, for a long time the most democratic funda- 
mental law in Europe, was read and memorized almost as much as the 
Bible. Furthermore, the rise of the peasant party in Norway after 
1830 and the labor movement of 1848-1851 had given many immi- 
grants democratic pohtical training and convictions before they ever 
set foot on these shores. According to the census of 1930, of all 
foreign-bom residents in the United States, 55.8 per cent were 
naturalized; but of all Norwegian-bom residents, 70.9 per cent were 
naturalized, and 29,954, or an additional 8.3' per cent, had taken out 
their first papers. In 1940, the national figure was 64.6 per cent and 
that for the Norwegian-born was 75.2 per cent. 

Comparatively few Norwegian Americans have remmed to Nor- 
way. The Norwegian statistics indicate that only about 17,700 did 
so between 1871 and 1910, and that the members of this group were 
more than twice as likely as the average Norwegian to possess private 
means of support at the age of sixty-five. The Norwegian Emigra- 
tion Commission in 1912 adduced evidence to show that, particularly 
in the province of Lister and Mandal and in the southern provinces 
generally, to which a considerably larger number returned than to 
other parts of the country, the influence of the repatriated Norwegian 
Americans had been noteworthy. They had learned in America 
more progressive methods in agriculture, a higher standard of living, 
and a more rapid rate of work; these had in turn been taught to the 
remainder of the population. The same commission estimated the 
amount of money sent home annually by Norwegian Americans at 
$ 10 , 000 , 000 . 

Norzi^egian Americans and World War II. The conquest of 
Norway by the Nazis in 1940, the sufferings and the heroic resistance 
of the Norwegian people, and the great contributions of the Nor- 
wegian merchant marine to the cause of the United Nations aroused 
the intense sympathy of Norwegian immigrants and their descendants 
in America. Contributions poured into the coffers of the Nor- 
wegian-American Relief Association. Money was also given to 
support Little Norway in Canada, where young Norwegian refugees 
were trained for aerial combat. Through these activities, many have 
renewed their consciousness of descent from a proud and free people. 

Contributions to American Life 

There is hardly any aspect of American life to which Norwegian 
immigrants and their offspring have failed to contribute. They 



helped to push back the frontier, fought the Indians, and established 
farms and hamlets. They shared largely in developing the fishing 
industry and contributed to the evolution of American seamanship. 
Commerce and industry have profited by their participation, as 
have every one of the professions — law, medicine, and engineering. 
They have promoted American education and achieved success in 
the realm of scholarship. As newspapermen and authors Norwegian- 
American names are known throughout the world. They have made 
notable contributions to American politics and statesmanship. They 
have been here so long and are now so well assimilated that they 
are hardly distinguishable from native American stock, with which 
they are rapidly intermarrying. 

Space permits only a brief description of the careers of a few of 
them — a list that could be multiphed many times. 

Laur. Larsen (1833—1915) came to America in 1857 when he ac- 
cepted a call to serve a Norwegian- American congregation in Fillmore 
County, Minnesota. Already there was much discussion among the 
Norwegian Lutherans in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa, 
of the need for a college to prepare young men for the study of 
theology, and Laur. Larsen became the first president of Luther 
College when it was founded in 1861. He remained in that position 
until 1902, during which time his influence upon the course of edu- 
cation, and no less upon the reh^ous development, among the Nor- 
wegian immigrants and their children, was exceedingly important. 

Knute Nelson (1876-1931) was elected county attorney in 1872 
and advanced through various stages to become governor of Miime- 
sota (1892-1895), the first Norwegian to hold that office in the 
United States, and United States senator (1895-1923), the first of a 
number of Norwegian Americans to be admitted to that body. 

The misdirected “Americanization” fury during World War I 
aroused the fears of O. E. Rolvaag (1876-1931) that the Norwegians 
in America might surrender their old-world culture before they were 
ready to adopt that of the United States; consequently, he began to 
write for them, in the Norwegian language, the epic of their adjust- 
ment to the American scene, particularly Giants in the Earth. This 
book in 1925 placed Rolvaag in the front rank of those who have 
immortalized the pioneer movement. From then until his death he 
occupied a leading place in both Norwegian and American hterature. 

Only two others can be named: Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) 
and Victor Lawson (1850-1925). Veblen was born in a Norwegian 
settlement in Wisconsin, of immigrant parents. He is unquestion- 
ably one of the greatest economists so far produced in the United 



States, and has deeply influenced philosophers, historians, and sociol- 
ogists. Victor Lawson was a journalist and financier. He inherited 
an interest in the Norwegian newspaper, Skandimven. In January, 
1876, the Chicago Daily News began to appear from the same build- 
ing as Skandinaven, and within six months Victor Lawson had pur- 
chased it. Under his able management, the News prospered, and 
Lawson became a power in American journalism. He led the Asso- 
ciated Press out of a serious crisis and exercised a great influence upon 
the handling of foreign news. Lawson became very wealthy, and 
distinguished himself by his philanthropy and his civic leadership. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

Early in the seventeenth century William Usselinx of Antwerp, 
attracted by the success of the Dutch traders in America and by 
reports of the opportunities awaiting there, endeavored to form 
a company for purposes of trade and settlement. Failing in this, he 
went to Sweden and secured from Gustavus Adolphus valuable trad- 
ing concessions, although at this time the kmg was so deeply in- 
volved in the struggles of the Thirty Years’ War that he could give 
no further attention to the plan. At the instance of Usselinx, a com- 
mercial company with exclusive privileges to traffic beyond the 
Straits of Gibraltar and with the right of planting colonies was sanc- 
tioned by the king on June 14, 1626. The stock was open to all 
Europe for subscription, and the king himself pledged $400,000 from 
the royal treasury. Then in May, 1630, Adolphus decided to invade 
Germany, and the funds of the company were arbitrarily confiscated 
for war purposes. But at Nuremberg, on October 6, 1632, only a 
few days before the battle of Lutzen, the enterprise was recom- 
mended to the people of Germany. 

After Adolphus’s death, his daughter Christina listened to similar 
plans presented by Peter Minuit, a former governor of New Nether- 
lands who knew something of the prospects offered by the lands on 
the South River. On December 31, 1637, an expedition consisting 
of two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Qripen, sailed from Sweden 
under the command of Minuit with a mixed batch of Swedish, Dutch, 
and Finnish settlers on board. The Swedish government had supplied 
the emigrants with a religious teacher, provisions, and merchandise 
for traffic with the natives. Minuit entered the Delaware River about 
the middle of March in 1638 and selected a site for his venture on 


the high ground of a branch of that ’stream. The territory lying 
between the southern cape — which the immigrants named Paradise 
Point — and the falls in the river at Trenton, was purchased from the 
natives. Near the mouth of Christiana Creek, within the limits of the 
present state of Delaware, Fort Christina was founded and named 
after the child who was queen of Sweden. This was the beginning 
of what later developed into the city of Wilmington. 

Peter Hollender succeeded Minuit as governor of New Sweden. 
He arrived with a second expedition in the spring of 1 640 and brought 
additional settlers. In October of the following year, a third expedi- 
tion landed with more settlers and supplies. The religious welfare 
of the colony was in the hands of the Reverend Reorus Torkillus, 
first Lutheran minister in America. In 1643 a fourth expedition 
arrived under the command of John Printz, who had been appointed 
to succeed Hollender as governor. 

Word of the loveliness of the country had been borne to Scandi- 
navia, and the peasantry of Sweden and Finland were eager to ex- 
change their farms in Europe for homes on the Delaware. The 
Swedes had gradually extended their plantations, and when the 
Dutch rebuilt their fort at Nassau, Printz established his residence on 
the island of Tinicum, a few miles below Philadelphia, in 1 643. The 
latter city, like Delaware, owes its origin to the Swedes, who had 
planted a suburb of Philadelphia before WiUiam Penn became its 
proprietor. New Sweden developed on the Bay and the River 

In 1653 Queen Christina gave Sven Schute the area now occupied 
by Philadelphia. The Indians called the district “Coaquannock,” and 
it included not only what is now the center of the city but also parts 
later known as Moyamensing, Wicac, and Passyunk. This land came 
into the possession of the Svenssons, from whom Penn secured it. 

Printz ruled the colony ably for ten years. During this time, the 
Dutch were growing more aggressive and he had received no 
communication from Sweden for several years. His patience ex- 
hausted, he took matters into his own hands, and in the autumn of 
1653 he left for Sweden in company with about twenty-five colonists. 
In the meantime, the Swedish Council, ignorant of his departure and 
aroused by his reports, determined to send the tenth expedition, which 
was intended to save the colony from ruin. 

This expedition, under the command of Johan Qasson Risingh, 
with 350 immigrants on board, reached the Delaware on May 20, 
1654. Risingh forced the surrender of Fort Casimir, the Dutch head- 



quarters on the river. But his request for the oath of allegiance from 
the handful of Dutch colonists precipitated a crisis destined to result 
in the downfall of New Sweden. 

When Peter Stuyvesant, the governor of New Netherlands, heard 
of the reduction of the fort, he swore vengeance and forced Risingh 
in turn to surrender on September i6, 1655. The articles of capitula- 
tion provided that such Swedes as desired to return to their home 
country would be transported free of expense, while those who wished 
to remain could do so on condition of swearing allegiance to the 
Dutch government. They were to retain their property and the 
right to maintain their customary religious observances. In view of 
these liberal terms, all but thirty-seven of the Swedish settlers elected 
to remain, but the colony of New Sweden was no more, and the 
Dutch ruled on the Delaware. 

Swedish supremacy on the Delaware had lasted from 1638 to 1655, 
a period of seventeen years. To it is to be attributed the introduc- 
tion to the new world of the language and institutions of Sweden. 
The Swedes were the real pioneers in Pennsylvania. They built the 
first houses, founded the first churches, established the first civil 
government, held the first courts, cultivated the first farms, imported 
the first livestock — ^in general were the first to introduce white civi- 
hzation. Though the Swedes feU prey to the Dutch, and the Dutch 
in turn were obliged to yield to the English nine years later, they 
maintained for long their farms and institutions. The Swedish gov- 
ernment continued to send Lutheran pastors to the new world, and 
these acted as disseminators of the Swedish cultural pattern. 

Modern Immigration 

Swedes constituted a minor element in the tide of migration from 
1655 nineteenth century. During the first forty years of 

that century, only a few Swedes landed in America, and these were 
mostly sailors, businessmen, and adventurers. About 1840, interest 
in America began to increase rather rapidly in Sweden, stimulated 
largely by the press, by literature, and by general discussion in which 
America was idealized. The result was sporadic emigration of the 
educated class, especially among the academic youth. The Pine 
Lake colony was founded not far from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by 
Gustaf Unonius of Uppsala. Another university town, Lund, con- 
tributed Ludvig Kumhen, whose party settled in Wisconsin on 
Koshkoning Lake, some forty miles from Madison. Several other 
expeditions followed. In 1 849 a band of about 140 persons came from 



northern Sweden, accompanied by Pastor L. P. Esbjom, who was to 
become the founder of the Augustana Synod, the largest Swedish 
church organization in America. Larger and larger groups went to 
Chicago. In 1850 religious pressure brought another group from 
northern Sweden, members of a sect known as Luthlasare (Luther 
Readers). The followers of Erick Janson, about 1,500 strong, went 
to the United States between 1845-1854, and founded a communistic 
settlement at Bishop HiU, Illinois. The first Baptist church of Amer- 
ican Swedes was founded in 1852 by the Baptists who had also come 
into conflict with the home authorities. After 1848 the various 
groups become too numerous to be enumerated in detail. Group 
migration was the rule till about i860. 

The majority of the earlier Swedish immigrants were recruited from 
among the classes that felt attracted to America for reasons other 
than economic, although a reasonable assurance of economic success 
was essential. In the subsequent period economic motives predomi- 
nated, intertwined with political, social, religious, and other factors. 

The period preceding immigration on a large scale extended ap- 
proximately from 1840 to i860. More and more knowledge of 
America was brought to the attention of prospective immigrants. 
The great adventure was made increasingly attractive by improved 
communications and financial assistance rendered by relatives. A 
special permit for emigration was no longer required in Sweden after 
1842. Immigrants began to journey by way of England and later 
on German boats. Safer traveling obviated the previous necessity 
of migrating in groups. In addition, about i860 the agrarian cul- 
tivated area of Sweden could no longer expand quickly enough to 
keep pace with the increasing population. The difficulties of the 
Swedish peasants were further accentuated by a series of crop failures. 
Emigration rose to an unprecedented height. Whereas the industrial 
element among the emigrants amounted to only a fifth of the agrarian 
during the fifties, in the eighties it increased to a third and in the first 
decade of the twentieth century to a half. During the last thirty 
years a new current of members of the learned professions has set in, 
sprinkled with celebrities and leaders in different professions attracted 
to America by the great opportunities for advancement and financial 

It must not be forgotten that the waves of immigration into 
America have alternated with periods of migration in the reverse 
direction from America to Sweden. These return movements accom- 
panied the series of American crises in 1884, 1903, and 1907. The 



American immigration law of 1924 is the turning point in the history 
of Swedish immigration. Even so, 42,119 Swedes were admitted to 
America between 1925 and 1929 and only 5,689 returned home. 

From 1820 to 1940 the total number of Swedes admitted to the 
United States was 1,213,488. In 1940, the United States census 
showed 595,250 foreign-bom Swedes and 967,453 American-born 
Swedes of Swedish foreign or mixed parentage — ^in all 1,562,703. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. A majority of American Swedes live in urban areas. 
Those who landed here in the first decade of the nineteenth century 
settled in the West and Northwest. They left their homeland during 
a time of religious unrest, and this circumstance may have contributed 
to their tendency to segregate themselves. So greatly did they desire 
isolation that they selected their lands in the wilderness, in the most 
inaccessible places, and put up their log cabins in the wild forests. 
Yet in a decade or so their settlements became prosperous farms and 
dwellings. The Swedish Americans have cleared and cultivated more 
than ten million acres in the United States. In Minnesota alone they 
have brought two million acres under cultivation, and in Minnesota, 
Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, the Dakotas, and Kansas whole counties 
are almost entirely Swedish. They have a facility for using inventions 
and labor-saving devices and were the first of the American farming 
population to adopt electric light. They are excellent horticulturists, 
landscape gardeners, fruit growers, and nurserymen. They are in- 
terested in consumers’ cooperatives, but are by nature small capitalists 
and property owners, with a marked respect for individual property 

Less than one fourth of the Swedish Americans work in the skilled 
trades as carpenters, tool-makers, and electricians. Their sons and 
the sons of farmers have already passed into the more exalted profes- 
sions of college and university teaching, of engineering and architec- 
ture, and the business of contracting and manufacture. Many of 
them hold leading positions in furniture factories and in the lumber 

Religion. The majority of Swedish Americans are members of the 
Lutheran Augustana Synod. Immigration from Sweden in the 
seventeenth century left its mark on both the political and religious 
life of America. Several of the churches which the early immigrants 
from the North built are still in existence, though no longer affiliated 
to the Lutheran Church. A much stronger influx of immigrants in 



the last century brought Swedish religious organization to the shores 
of America. The first of the congregations of the Augustana Synod 
to be organized was that in New Sweden, Henry County, Iowa, in 
1 848, and the second was in Andover, Henry County, Illinois, in 1850. 
The same year Swedish Lutheran congregations were organized in 
Galesburg and Moline, Illinois. At that time there were some groups 
of Swedish Methodists in America. They enjoyed the support of 
the Methodist Church in the United States, and the wealthy Episcopal 
Church was ready to take under its wing pilgrim children of an 
episcopal country. On June 5, 1850, the Scandinavian Evangelical 
Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America was organized in 
Clinton, Wisconsin. The Augustana Seminary was founded at 
Chicago but was eventually removed to Paxton, Illinois. 

In 1872 and 1875 the onslaughts of “Waldenstromianism,” sup- 
ported by the Congregationahsts, brought civil war into the church 
of Sweden and the synod. In the midst of the tumult, the Augustana 
College and Theological Seminary was removed from Paxton to Rock 
Island, Illinois, in order to be nearer Minnesota, then the stronghold 
of the Swedes in America. In 1894 the synod dropped the word 
“Scandinavian” from its name and thenceforth became known as 
the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America, or, in 
brief, the Augustana Synod. This synod was a part of the General 
Council, but formally withdrew from the council on November 12, 
1918, and declined to enter an amalgamation of the General Synod, 
the General Council, and the United Synod of the South, by which 
was formed the United Lutheran Church in America. 

In the early days of the synod, the Swedish language was used. 
Today about 75 per cent of its members are native bom or landed 
in America in early childhood, and the English language is used almost 
exclusively in the work among the children and the young. More 
than half the services held for adults, however, are in the language of 
their homeland. 

The synod has one theological school, Augustana Theological Semi- 
nary, at Rock Island, Illinois. Augustana College, at the same place, 
is the oldest and strongest college of the synod and is owned and con- 
trolled by the synod as a whole. There are three other standard col- 
leges, two junior colleges, and two academies, which are owned 
and controlled by individual conferences, namely Gustavus Adolphus 
College at St. Peter, Minnesota, Bethany at Lindsborg, Kansas, famous 
for its music festivals, and Uppsala College at East Orange, New 



Swedish immigration to the United States was also encouraged by 
the Baptist, Mormon, and Methodist churches. The Baptists were 
very different from the Lutherans and their persecution led many to 
come to America. The Mormons settled in Utah in such large num- 
bers that a law was passed prohibiting their importation to that state. 
A considerable number of Swedish Americans are affiliated with the 
church known as the Mission Friends, which supports a college at 
North Park, in Chicago. 

The press. Although in the Swedish and Danish press secular in- 
terests are more prominent than in the Norwegian, the church has 
played a considerable role in Swedish journalism. Notwithstanding 
the relatively early rise of secular interests among the Swedish Amer- 
icans, all the early Swedish- American papers were religious in nature. 
In fact, prior to 1866 no successful attempt had been made to start a 
Swedish newspaper that was not the organ of some church denomi- 
nation. The first successful step to found a secular periodical not 
under the domination of the church was taken when Colonel Hans 
Matson, later secretary of state in Minnesota, became editor of the 
Svenska Amerikanaren. In general it was difficult to secure an editor 
for a secular newspaper, as most Swedish Americans with more than 
a common-school education were in the church either as teachers or 

All in all, about twelve hundred Swedish newspapers have been 
established in the United States, about a fourth of which were in 
existence in 1910. During and after World War I the mortality rate 
was high as evidenced by the fact that more than a hundred Swedish 
papers have been started in Chicago alone. The Augustana is the 
most important Swedish-American publishing house and has pub- 
lished more than four hundred books in the Swedish language. Most 
of these books are of a religious and philosophical nature and are 
full of devotional poetry. 

Organizations. Among the fraternal orders the most important is 
the Vasa, with about 60,000 members. In addition there are many 
other fraternal organizations and hundreds of glee clubs and sing- 
ing societies, such as the United Swedish Societies of Greater New 
York, the American Society of Swedish Engineers, the Scandinavian 
Fraternity of America, the American Union of Swedish Engineers, 
the Scandinavian Fraternity of America, and the American Union of 
Swedish Singers. A unique contribution of the Swedes is the choral 
and instrumental music society of the Swedish community of Linds- 
borg, Kansas, the chorus of which is composed of local people.- Part 



of the orchestra is also recruited from the neighborhood — farmers 
and small businessmen. The yearly performance of Handel’s 
“Messiah” oratorio by the Messiah Chorus of the Lindsborg Choir 
is one of the musical events of the year. Swedish folk dances are 
now taught in almost all the schools of the larger cities, and Ling 
gymnastics still have great vogue in America. 

Swedish Aviericans and World War 11 . In 1942, Fortune reported 
that “though interventionist Carl Sandburg is (Norwegians’ and 
Swedes’) greatest pride, the 1,400,000 first- and second-generation 
Swedes in the United States still stand for whatever is left of Midwest’s 
specific isolationism. Stronger only than their anti-Russian feeling 
is their ready understanding of Sweden’s ‘realistic’ attempt to avoid 
Nazi invasion by voluntary, though limited, collaboration with the 
Reich.” ^ But, since American “Wedes are sincere democrats and 
good citizens” they had been willing to comply with the United States 
government’s orders and produced what was wanted of them — 
“except enthusiasm.” 

Contributions to America 

The Vinland Saga relates that when Karlsefne was in America, 
about 1008, a son whom he named Snorre was bom to him and his 
wife Gudrid, the widow of Thomstien, who was Leif Ericson’s 
brother. Snorre is claimed to be the first white child ever bom in 
America, and, as the Saga states that Karlsefne was partly of Swedish 
descent, it follows according to this source that the first white person 
ever bom in America was of Swedish extraction. A statue of Karl- 
sefne was raised in Philadelpliia in 1920. 

The Swedes founded the state of Delaware and were among the 
earliest settlers of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. When 
at a most critical stage of the War of Independence, Washington 
crossed the Delaware River with his army to attack the Hessians at 
Trenton, his boats were manned by descendants of the Swedes who 
had settled in that district 140 years before. Others served through- 
out the Revolution. 

In connection with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 
the name of John Morton (also claimed to be a Norwegian), descend- 
ant of a Swedish settler in New Sweden on the Delaware, stands out 
with special prominence. The Continental Congress of 177^5 when 
the momentous question of severing relations with England by an 

1 “Steam from the Melting Pot,” Fortum, September, 1942, p. 76. 



overt act of signing and proclaiming the Declaration of Independence 
was under consideration, had come to a deadlock. Two of the five 
members of the Pennsylvania delegation had voted for it and two 
against it, thus leaving the Pennsylvania delegation tied. John 
Morton, the fifth member of the delegation, had been too ill to attend 
the Congress. His friends rigged up a litter borne between two 
horses and carried Morton from liis home to where the Congress 
was in session. He cast his vote for the Declaration, which was 
proclaimed on July 4, i 77 < 5 * Morton was one of the men who signed 
this historic document. In 1876 a memorial tablet was erected to 
him in Independence Hall and a beautiful building, called after him, 
“John Morton Memorial,” was set up in his honor in Philadelphia, 

Another distinguished patriot of the American Revolutionary pe- 
riod, also of Swedish descent, was John Hanson of Maryland. He 
filled one public post after another until he was finally elected “Presi- 
dent of the United States in Congress Assembled” and served as such 
from November 5, 1781, to November 5, 1782. His statue in 
Statuary Hall in the national Capital was placed there by the state of 
Maryland on January 31, 1903. 

The contributions of Swedes in those early days also extended to 
the realm of art. Gustaf Hesselius who arrived in Philadelphia in 
17 1 1 has been called “the father of American painting.” Adolf 
Ulrick Wertmuller painted the famous portrait of George Washing- 
ton during his second term as president. 

In religion and culture the Swedish colonial settlers took a promi- 
nent place. Of the three churches remaining from the colonial period 
before 1700, and which are still in regular use, two are Swedish: 
Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) in Philadelphia, and the Trinity (Old 
Swedes) Church, in Wilmington, Delaware; the third is the EngKsh 
St. Lucas Church, Isle of Wight County, Virginia. 

The Civil War again brought to the front Swedes and men of 
Swedish ancestry: Captain John Ericsson, born in Sweden in 1803, 
Admiral J. A. Dahlgren and his son Colonel Oscar Malmborg, Colonel 
Hans Mattson, and others. Thanks to the engineer Captain Ericsson, 
the engagement between the Monitor and the Merrimac at Hampton 
Roads, Virginia, on March 9, 1 862, marked a definite epoch not only 
in the naval operations of the Civil War, but more broadly in the 
world aspects of warship design and construction. Although the 
design of the Monitor as a type of warship and the introduction of 
the screw propeller were the outstanding achievements of Ericsson’s 


career, he made many other contributions to the art and practice of 
engineering in his day. 

Other great Swedes or men of Swedish lineage have made their con- 
tributions to America. In Minneapolis may be seen a grotesque and 
magnificent structure known colloquially as Turnblad’s Castle, and 
officially as the American Institute of Swedish Arts, Literature, and 
Science. It was built by the late Swan Johan Tumblad, a Swedish 
peasant boy immigrant who went to Minnesota in i860 when there 
were still virgin forests and Indians. He came in the steerage, but 
before he died he was a multimillionaire. His “castle” is now a 
superb cultural institute and museum, where lectures, concerts, 
symposiums, and exhibitions are organized. The University of 
Minnesota has several outstanding Swedish- American scholars; Pro- 
fessors A. A. Stomberg and G. M. Stephenson are distinguished mem- 
bers of its history department. 

The Swede John Johnson, rail splitter, laborer, printer, governor, 
and senator, was a great figure in American politics, and Colonel 
Hans Mattson of Minnesota was the first of the long list of Minnesota 
Swedes in government service. Charles A. Lindbergh, father of the 
famous airman, was bom in Stockholm. 

The Swede Greta Garbo is well known in the cinema world. 
Equally well known in the nineteenth century was Jenny Lind, the 
celebrated Swedish singer brought to America by Bamum. Her 
tradition is carried on by such members of the Metropolitan Opera 
in New York as Kristina Nilsson, Onegin, Claussen, and Gustav 
Holmquist. In sculpture, Carl Milles is a Swede. Carl Sandburg 
is considered by many to be the greatest aU-American poet since Walt 

Nor should we forget to mention the famous airship navigator 
Commander Charles Rosendahl, also of Swedish descent; Johanssen^ 
who invented the gauge by which the whole world now measures steel 
to the half millionth of an inch; Erich Nelson, Swedish engineer of the 
first United States Army flight around the world; Marjorie Gestring, 
Olympic diving champion, of Swedish descent; Helen Wills Moody, 
purportedly part Swedish; Claude Swanson, secretary of the Navy; 
and E. F. W. Alexanderson, consulting engineer of the General 
Electric Company, who was bom in Sweden. 

The list of notable Swedish- American educators is very long. In 
colonial days. Dr. Nils Collin, one of the Swedish pastors in Phila- 
delphia, was for a time a director of the University of Pennsylvania. 
Scholars of Swedish lineage are very numerous. Professor Thorsten 


Sellin of the University of Pennsylvania is one of the best-known 
specialists in criminology; in addition to being editor of the Annals, 
he has shaped the policies of that important organ of the American 
Academy of Political and Social Science for a number of years. 
Fryxell and Udden are well known in geology, Alexanderson in 
electrotechnics, Odegard and Sandelius in pohtical science. Seashore 
and Wallin in education, and Bergendorf in theology. Physiologist 
Anton Julius Carlson of the University of Chicago, bom on a farm 
in Sweden, is the author of a classic book. The Control of Hunger in 
Health and Disease (1916), and on his theories other scientists worked 
out diets for infant feeding, gastric ulcers, and so on.^ 

The Swedish Americans, like the rest of the Scandinavian Americans, 
fit well into the cultural life of America. Their lot today is much 
easier than that of immigrants from other Baltic (Poland, Estonia, 
Latvia) and eastern European countries. When the influx of Swedes 
into America was at its height, there was no such tremendous differ- 
ence between the environment of the European peasant in his native 
land and in America as there is today. The fact that most of them 
settled in rural districts and not in the slums of America’s cities was 
an added advantage. Unlike the immigrants from central and eastern 
Europe, the Swedes did not bring with them what Professor Miller 
has called the “oppression psychosis” — the product of past struggles 
for national existence which strengthened ethnocentric tendencies in 
the religion, language, and customs of such immigrants as shared it. 
Consequently the Swedes have found it much easier to adapt them- 
selves to American culture. In this process they have been helped 
by the fact that their religion is Lutheranism, a form of Protestantism. 

Since their adjustment to the American environment has been 
favored by every circumstance, the Swedish Americans have been 
able to produce an unusually large number of great men. Further- 
more, since the Swedes belong to the “old” immigrant movement, the 
second and subsequent generations have been in a position to push 
rapidly ahead in America, a process less easy for descendants of the 
“new” immigration. The transition from one culture to another, and 
from one personality to another, is a process that requires not only 
time but demands the cooperation of both groups. Even in this 
last respect, the Swedish Americans are fortunate in enjoying the 
guidance of such distinguished institutions as the American-Scandi- 
navian Foundation. 

2Cf.: “Scientist’ Scientist,” Time, XXXVII (February 10, 1941), pp. 44-48. 



Joseph S. Roucek 

Although large-scale migration from Denmark to the United 
States did not set in until the middle of the nineteenth century, Danes 
were connected with the discovery of America and active in the 
affairs of the colonies from the beginning. 

Although no authentic record exists, a Polish authority states that 
as early as 1475 Jan of Kolno, a Polish sailor in the service of the Idng 
of Denmark, reached Labrador and explored the Atlantic seaboard as 
far south as the present coast of Delaware. It is quite certain, more- 
over, that there were Danes on board Henry Hudson’s ship, and that 
Danes were present on the Half Moon when Hudson met the Indians 
at the mouth of Menaten (now Manhattan) Island in 1 609. 

In 1 61 1, a Dane, Captain Henry Christiansen, set sail from the West 
Indies in a Dutch vessel, voyaged to New York, and took back skins 
and com to Holland. When he returned in 1613 he was accom- 
panied by a partner, one Adrian Block. The Fortune and the Tiger, 
the two vessels commanded by Christiansen and Block, voyaged to and 
from America about ten times. Christiansen died in 1614. Block 
subsequently lost the Tiger off Battery Place, and accordingly built 
four log houses at about the site of what is now 39 Broadway, New 
York City. This was the beginning of New Amsterdam. 

As news of the country Henry Hudson had discovered reached the 
king of Denmark, he decided to establish a colony in the new land 
and dispatched Captain Jens Munk with two small ships to America. 
The captain left Denmark in May, 1619, landed in the Hudson Bay 
country, and took possession of the land in the name of the king of 
Denmark. This was just a few months before the landing of the 
Pilgrim Fathers. As the immigrants from England gave the name 
“New England” to the colony that they founded, so Captain Munk 
designated his colony Nova Dania (New Denmark) . Extreme hard- 
ship, severe sickness, and the hostility of Indians quickly put an end 
to this first Danish colony in America. 

Jonas Bronck, Jochim Petersen, and their families and friends 
reached New Amsterdam in 1639. The party sailed up the river, 
past the island of Manhattan, and landed on the end of the main- 
land. Both Petersen and Bronck purchased land from the Indians, 
the former establishing his settlement along what is now the Harlem 
River, a valuable tract in Westchester “over against Harlem,” and 



Bronck establishing his between what are now called the Harlem and 
the Bronx rivers. As the colonies grew, the territory on which they 
were located came to be known as “Bronck’s land,” and thus the 
name Bronx came in time to be applied to one of the boroughs of 
New York City. 

A number of sailors on Dutch vessels soon afterward abandoned sea 
life and settled in the Bronx, forming an exclusively Danish com- 
munity. This small group was subsequently merged with the Dutch 
population living around them, but in succeeding years so many 
Danes arrived in large numbers that they were able to keep their 
national characteristics for a much longer period. 

Other prominent names appeared; Andreas Dreyer was the Dutch 
governor in Albany in 1673-1674. General Hans Christian Febiger 
(1746-1796), born on the Island of Funen, Denmark, retired from 
the American Army and was brevetted brigadier-general by Congress 
on September 30, 1783. Settling in Philadelphia, he was elected and 
remained treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1796. Abraham 
Markoe, from the West Indies, also fought in the American War for 
Independence; he is said to have given the red and white stripes to the 
American flag. Another Dane, Peter Lassen, was one of the earliest 
explorers of the Far West, and he is commemorated today in the 
name of Mount Lassen in California. 

Many Danes continued to arrive as individual immigrants. A num- 
ber of them settled in the Swedish colony of “New Sweden” in Penn- 
sylvania, and others who belonged to the Moravian Church found 
their way to the Moravian Brethren’s colonies in Pennsylvania and 
North Carolina. 

The Danish navigator, Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681-1741), born 
at Horsens in Jutland, discovered America on the west. From 1725 
till the time of his death he conducted a series of explorations and in 
the course of these led an expedition to America in two ships, both 
of which he had built. A storm separated the ships, but Bering sighted 
the southern coast of Alaska and made a landing in the vicinity of 
Kayak Island. Making haste to return, he inadvertently discovered 
several of the Aleutian Islands. When he had fallen sick with scurvy 
and was unable to command his ship, his expedition was driven to 
take refuge on an uninhabited island in the southwest of the Bering 
Sea. Here he and many of his company died on December 19, 1741. 
Bering Island and Sea and Straits were named after him. 



Modern Immigration 

The early immigrants were mostly adventurers, merchants, and 
sailors. The peasants in Denmark were long compelled by law to 
remain the whole of their lives in the locality in which they were 
born. Not until the late eighteenth century were they given the 
right to live where they pleased. This fact is of vital importance in 
connection with Danish immigration. 

When in 1825 Norwegian farmers first emigrated to America, 
their example was soon followed in Denmark, and in 1828 about 
one hundred Danish immigrants landed in the United States. Be- 
tween 1830 and 1840 the number swelled to over one thousand, of 
whom approximately one half arrived in 1835. In the following 
decade five hundred settlers arrived, of whom one hundred reached 
their destination in 1846 and two hundred in 1848. Most of these 
early groups had to charter their own ships. 

The first Danish immigrants who came to settle permanently in 
America were almost entirely from the country districts. Their first 
permanent settlement was founded in 1845 in Wakauska County 
(southern Wisconsin), not far from the town of Milwaukee. Three 
years later New Denmark was settled farther north in the territory. 
Within the next decade there were half a dozen rapidly growing 
Danish communities in that state. Of these the most important was 
Racine, which in time was to be known as the Dane city and as a 
center of Danish cultural activities throughout the Middle West. 

At the same time Danes appeared in the eastern and mid-western 
cities. After saving money, they frequently went westward, and, in 
company with fresh arrivals from Denmark, built up larger settle- 
ments in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. 
Danish immigration to Minnesota began even before the latter’s organ- 
ization as a territory. Independent in other things, the Danish 
pioneers were independent in settling, for instead of collecting at a 
few places they scattered widely. The large settlement in Freeborn 
County, however, owed much to its early leader, the Reverend Lars 
Jorgsen Hange, who in the eighteen-sixties and -seventies directed 
a considerable number of Baptists to that part of the state. The Swan 
Lake settlement is still one of the largest Danish settlements in the 
United States. The first Danes arrived in Iowa in i860. Consider- 
able numbers of Danes settled in Utah during the fifties, sixties, and 
seventies. Later a few larger settlements were founded in Cali- 
fornia, Oregon, and Washington. The whole movement was stim- 



ulated, at least in part, by the favorable conditions in America at the 
time. The Homestead Act of 1 862 and the construction of railways 
in the trans-Mississippi West were excellent inducements. The 
western railways began to encourage immigration by scattering agents 
throughout Europe to spread propaganda for the northern Pacific 
lands. It is interesting to note that, with the exception of Dannevang, 
Texas, none of the larger Danish settlements were situated in the 
southern states. 

In the eighteen-fifties began the great stream of Danish immigration 
which reached its highest levels in 1882, 1891, and 1905, when respec- 
tively about eleven, ten, and nine thousand emigrants from Denmark 
entered the United States. A Danish sailor in America had previously 
become a convert to the Mormon faith and was sent in 1850 by his 
church as its missionary to Denmark. His followers were persecuted 
in Denmark and therefore emigrated to join their coreligionists in 
Utah. Many of the converts were farmers who wrote home of the 
great opportunities to be found on American soil. From 1 850 to 1 860 
four thousand Danish immigrants were admitted to the United States, 
At least half of these were Mormons. All in all, between 1820 and 
1940 Danish immigration totaled approximately 300,000. The great- 
est number of arrivals in a single year (11,600) was recorded in 

Causes of hnmigration. Religious and political persecution was 
largely responsible for Danish immigration prior to 1870. Thereafter 
economic pressure was the predominant factor. The Napoleonic 
Wars brought a series of disasters to Denmark; the loss of the fleet 
in 1807, the bankruptcy of the National Bank in 1813, and the seces- 
sion of Norway in 1814. Social and political agitation followed. 
Freedom of speech, of the press, and of worship were given to Den- 
mark only with the granting of the Constitution of 1849 by her last 
absolute king. Prior to that document, the government had been un- 
generous in religious matters. Children had to be baptized and con- 
firmed in the established Lutheran faith. Whereas at the opening 
of the nineteenth century there were no dissenters or non-Lutherans 
in Denmark, at about the middle of the century small groups of dis- 
senters — ^Baptists, Methodists, Latter-Day Saints, and Adventists, 
some of which had been formed by missionaries sent by the corre- 
sponding American churches — ^found emigration preferable to the 
animosity of the Danish authorities. Among the early immigrants 
were a number of Baptists, who had suffered severe persecution at 
home, and a few Methodists and Adventists. 



Another important flow of immigration was set in motion by 
the Mormon missionaries who arrived in Denmark in 1850 and soon 
made hundreds of converts. Between 1850 and i860 no less than 
2,606 Mormon colonies were estabhshed in the West — the forerunners 
of the thirty thousand Danes who later came to Utah. Since the 
Mormons did not carry on missionary work among other Danish 
immigrants, they exercised httle religious influence on the Danish 
immigrants except in Utah. 

After 1864 another contingent of Danish immigrants entered Amer- 
ica. The “Elbe Duchies” of Sclileswig and Holstein were seized 
by Prussia after the second Dano-German War of 1864, and many 
chose to leave their country rather than to hve under their new 

The Socialist Party started its activities in Denmark about 1871, 
but its leaders were soon imprisoned. Many left for the new world. 
However, the number of Danes who migrated to America for political 
reasons comprised only a minor part of the influx; since 1 870 economic 
reasons have been far more prominent than have any others. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. Many of the early immigrants had originally been 
agricultural laborers and small farmers. Later they represented prac- 
tically all classes. A large number came from the Jutland Peninsula 
and from Zealand and other islands. In the seventies and eighties, 
young unmarried men and women constituted a considerable propor- 
tion of these immigrants. Later, young unmarried men and women 
predominated. There were urban laborers, but more especially 
farm laborers, cotters (husmaend), and a large number of skilled 
mechanics. Practically all of them could read and write, and a 
number of them had been educated at folk high schools; many of the 
men had also attended technical schools. Toward the close of the 
century and up to World War I, the majority of these latter were 
mechanics. Most of the later arrivals were unmarried men and 
women who took up residence in the cities rather than in rural dis- 
tricts. Only a limited number had enjoyed a higher education, since 
the well-to-do or especially gifted alone could afford such training. 
Many stayed in cities simply because they were unable to raise the 
traveling expenses for the journey from New York farther west. 

Perth Amboy, just outside of New York, seems to have had a 
great attraction for these Danes, possibly because of the large terra- 
cotta works owned there by the Mathiasen and Eskesen families. 



Others found their way to the growing cities of the Middle West. 
Once settled, large numbers left the rural districts for such cities as 
Chicago, Detroit, Omaha, Seattle, and Los Angeles, where large 
colonies of Danes are congregated, and for some of the smaller towns, 
such as Racine in Wisconsin and Clinton and Des Moines in Iowa. 

According to the United States census of 1930, 50.7 per cent of 
Danish Americans were living in urban districts, one of the lowest 
figures for any immigrant group in America. 

Religions divisions. The first Danish minister in America was 
Pastor Rasmus Jensen, who arrived at Nova Dania, Hudson Bay, in 
1620. In 1754 J. M. Magens, a noted layman, came to New York 
and translated from the Danish into English forty sermons on the 
Augsburg Confession. In 1843 a student named C. L. Clausen 
arrived from Copenhagen and was ordained by the Buffalo Synods. 
In 1869 the Society for the Promotion of the Gospel among the Danes 
in North America was formed, and two years later the first mission- 
aries were sent over in the person of Pastor A. C. G. L. Rasmussen, 
a lay preacher, A. S. Nielsen, and a student, R. Andersen. In 1870 
the Norwegian-Danish Conference was organized. 

Before proceeding further we must recall that the American Danes, 
if they had been practicing Christians at home, had been Lutherans and 
therefore attached either to the Innermission People — a body not 
unlike the German Pietists — or to the Grundtvigians, a nationalistic 
sect of Lutherans. A large proportion of the immigrants were 
Grundtvigians, and their disagreements with the Innermission Peoples 
in the United States form a well-documented chapter of Danish- 
American history.’- 

Before 1872 Danish Lutherans tended to become members of the 
Norwegian-Lutheran synods, which had much in common with 
the Innermission both in practice and creed. In 1856 the first Dano- 
Norwegian Church was founded in Raymond, Wisconsin, by Louis 

^The chief characteristic of the theology of Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig 
(1783-1872) was the substitution of the authority of the “living word” for the 
apostolic commentaries; he desired each congregation to constitute a practically 
independent community. As a minister, he tried to restore what he termed old- 
fashioned, vital Christianity and pure Lutheranism. He protested in turn against 
the rationalism and the dogmatic liberalism of the church; he demanded a simpler 
creed, a more abundant life, and greater religious freedom for laity and clergy. 
His educational ideas were exemplified in numerous folk high schools working 
successfully under state supervision in the more rural communities of Denmark. 
Intensely patriotic, he founded popular schools where national poetry and history 
form an essential part of the instruction. He was popular as a writer of hymns, 
lyrics, and patriotic songs. The influence of his liberal movement has not been 
confined to America. 



Jorgensen. Some of the pastors of these synods were Danes whom 
the Innermission leaders had encouraged to emigrate. 

The first step toward the formation of a Danish Church in America 
was taken by the organization of the above-mentioned society in 
Denmark, in i860, for the purpose of carrying out missionary work 
among the American Danes, most of whom were Grundtvigians. 
The society’s work consisted mainly in the selection and training of 
ministers for Danish congregations in America, and in acting as an 
advisory council to such ministers and congregations. In October, 
1872, three representatives of the society — ^A. Dan, N. Thomsen and 
R. Andersen — together with several Danish laymen, met at Neenah, 
Wisconsin, and organized, under the name of Kirkelig Missions 
Forening, what is now called the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church 
in America. At this meeting it was decided to publish a church maga- 
zine, the Reverend A. Dan of Racine being elected its first editor. 
The organization grew slowly as fresh Danish settlements were 
formed, the church paying specific attention to the organization of 
the new Danish colonies. Of the four colonies — ^in Shelby County, 
Iowa; Lincoln County, Minnesota; Clark County, Wisconsin, and 
Wharton County, Texas — the settlement in Iowa is most noteworthy 
and successful. Since 1884 the Danish government has supported the 
work by appropriating a small annual amount for the education of 
ministers of the church. 

Until World War I, the Danish language was used in all Danish 
church work and exclusively in the church itself. But lately the use 
of English has become general. Both churches are faced with the 
pressure of Americanization and the passing of their original immi- 
grant members. These trends have tended to encourage coopera- 
tion between the two rival synods, and it is quite possible that in time 
they may unite. 

It is important to note that the Danish Church has not so strong 
a grip on its sons and daughters as have, similar organizations among 
Swedes and Norwegians. 

Fraternal organizations. The most important of the various clubs 
and fraternal organizations is the Danish Brotherhood of America 
(Det danske Brodersamfund) , founded in 1882; it has 329 lodges and 
between sixteen and seventeen thousand members. Other organiza- 
tions include: the Danish Sisterhood of America {Det danske Soster- 
sanrfund), organized in 1885, which embraces 148 lodges and has 
from six to seven thousand members; the United Danish Societies 
(De Sammensluttede danske Foreninger), founded in 1882, which 



has thirty-two lodges and three thousand members; and Det danske 
Forening Dania, of California, founded in 1879, which has twenty- 
two branches in California and Nevada and some three thousand 
members. Danish societies are recreational and cultural and possess 
some of the benefit features of the secret societies. The local organ- 
izations of the latter are organized chiefly in the larger cities, whereas 
the Brotherhood forms local branches in both urban and rural districts. 
Both have tried to use mainly the Danish language in their social 

Of the smaller societies mention must be made of the Danish 
People’s Society and the Danish American Association. The former 
was created in 1887 by the Reverend F. L. Grundtvig, son of Bishop 
N. F. S. Grundtvig, for the purpose of preserving the social heritage 
of the Danish immigrants; the latter, founded in 1906, has to its credit 
the establishment of a national park in the moorlands of Jutland, 
Denmark, where the Fourth of July is celebrated each year under 
both the Dmnebrog (the Danish flag) and the Star-Spangled Banner. 
There are also numerous secular societies of the most varied kind, 
recreational, linguistic, gymnastic, musical, patriotic, educational, fra- 
ternal (or secret), and economic. Charitable institutions supported 
by the Danish Americans are scattered throughout the country. 

The press. Of the many newspapers and periodicals published in 
the Danish language in the United States since 1872, only a few are 
still in existence. Det danske Pioneer (Omaha, Nebraska) appeared 
in 1872 as a liberal periodical with socialistic tendencies and was for 
many years the leading Danish newspaper in America. It is now 
more conservative and has always supported the Democratic Party. 
The Dannevirke (Cedar Falls, Iowa) has been the unoflicial organ of 
the Danish Lutheran Church since 1880. The Bien (San Francisco, 
California) appeared two years later on the west coast. The 
Nordlyset (New York) began its career mainly to represent the 
Danish colony in Chicago. . Det danske Ugeblad (Tyler, Minne- 
sota) has been the unofficial organ of the United Danish Lutheran 
Church since 1916. 

Educational institutions. It is noteworthy that the Danes can 
boast of the highest rate of naturalization of all American citizens — 
78.1 per cent, a rate which surpasses even that for Sweden (77.1 per 
cent) . Their adjustment to the American environment is also facil- 
itated by their high rate of literacy. This fact is intimately connected 
with the folk high school movement in Denmark. It was only natural 
that American Danes should try to preserve their cultural heritage 



in the United States by means of the same institution. A number of 
folk high schools were established in the Danish Horn, Shelby County, 
Iowa, in 1878, but these had to be closed during World War 1 . Four 
other schools also sulfered from indifference and lack of financial help, 
in spite of the attempts of the Grundtvigians to support them. A few 
such schools survive today, notably Ashlajid Hojskole (Grant, Michi- 
gan), Danebod Hojskole (Tyler, Minnesota), Dansk Hojskole (Port- 
land, Maine) and Nysted Hojskole (Danebrog, Nebraska). Among 
educational institutions must be included Dana College and Seminary 
(Blair, Nebraska) founded in 1886, and Grand View College (Des 
Moines, Iowa) established in 1895. 

The various churches and associations promote their own educa- 
tional activities. These church organizations, with the exception of 
the Grundtvigian, have been of a strictly religious character. The 
Grundtvigian young people’s societies also promote interest in gym- 
nastics, folk dancing, singing, dramatics, and libraries. 

American Danes and World War 11 . In 1942, Fortune magazine 
reported on American Danes as follows; “Less impregnated with 
‘realism’ than the Swedes, but also less united in anti-Axis fervor than 
the Norwegians, are the half-million United States Danes. In general 
they back Henrik de Kauffmann, Danish Minister to the United 
States, who defies German orders from Copenhagen. The leading 
fraternal organizations of United States Danes do not fall for Nazi 
propaganda, which tries to prove that Denmark made a good bargain 
when it accepted German protection.” ^ 

Contributions to American Life 

Their cultural heritage is itself the most important contribution 
made by the Danes to American life. The Danish folk high school, 
whether in its original Danish or its modified American form, is of 
considerable significance for American education; it has suggested 
methods and principles of adult education that are widely practiced 
today, for example, the experiment carried on by S. A. Mathiason, 
of Danish descent, in the Pocono People’s College, the Pocono Study 
Tours, and the American People’s College in New York City. 

The conditions of the dairy industry in America are to a large 
degree the result of work done by the Danish people. Danish experi- 
ments and discoveries, and particularly the invention of the cream 
separator, revolutionized the milk, butter, and cheese industry. The 

2 “Steam from the Melting Pot,” Fortune, September, 1942, p. 76. 



Danes introduced their methods in America, and in the early eighties 
a Danish immigrant living near Cedar Rapids imported a cream 
separator, then a novelty in Iowa. Danish methods were soon learned 
and imitated by others, and the fame of American dairies soon spread 
to Europe. There are still many districts in Minnesota, the Dakotas, 
and Wisconsin where all the dairies are owned or rnanaged by 
Danes. Intimately bound up with their success in farming and the 
dairy industry is the Danes’ inclination for cooperation. Cooper- 
ative associations were well received in Danish communities and in 
the groups in contact with them. There are still some associations 
of this nature flourishing among both urban and rural groups. 

The Danes have made distinguished contributions to American 
life, not only as a group, but also as individuals. Jacob A. Riis ( 1 849- 
1914) was born in Ribe, Denmark, and was apprenticed for four 
years to a carpenter in Copenhagen. Coming to New York in 1870 
he tried his hand in turn at farming, coal mining, brickmaking, and 
peddling before, on the strength of his previous journalistic experi- 
ence, he secured employment on a weekly newspaper published at 
Hunter’s Point, Long Island. After several years he joined the 
Neav York Tribune (1877-1878) and later the Evening Sun (1888- 
1899) as a police reporter. Afterward he supported himself by 
articles, books, and lectures. His activities at police headquarters led 
Riis to his life work, the cleansing of New York’s slums. In vivid 
newspaper and magazine articles, in countless lectures, in widely read 
books, he focused attention on the life of the poor, especially of the 
children, and organized their relief. His exposure of the con- 
taminated condition of the city’s water supply led to the purchase 
of the Croton watershed; he abolished police station lodging houses; 
he worked for child labor legislation and its enforcement; he secured 
playgrounds and a truant school; he forced tenements to be destroyed; 
he revealed to a horrified country long-hidden dens of vice, crime 
and filth; he drove bakeries, with their fatal fires, from tenement base- 
ments. Riis’s chief supporter was Theodore Roosevelt. 

Niels Poulson (1843-1911), iron-master, architect, and philan- 
thropist, built the Hecla Architectural Iron Works at Brooklyn in 
1897. The construction and ornamental details of the Grand Central 
and Pennsylvania railway stations in New York City are products 
of the Hecla Works. Poulson’s house in Brooklyn was built almost 
entirely of copper. He left the bulk of his estate to endow the 
American Scandinavian Foundation for the purpose of fostering closer 
understanding between the United States and the Scandinavian coun- 



tries. Poulson was also an ardent believer in popular and adult edu- 
cation and established a technical evening school in his factory where 
employees could obtain free instruction. He must also receive credit 
for several mechanical inventions, such as fireproof stairs and library 

Lack of economic opportunities in Denmark has resulted in an 
unusually large number of Danes joining American scholarly and 
scientific institutions. Niels Christian Nielsen is curator of pre- 
historic archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History of 
New York. August Busch has been the entomologist expert of the 
United States Department of Agriculture since 1896; another Dane, 
Adam Giede Bving, is senior entomologist at the United States Bureau 
of Entomology. Jens C. Clausen was connected with the Rockefeller 
Foundation and the Division of Genetics of the University of Cali- 
fornia, and is a member of the Division of Plant Biology of Stanford 

One of the foremost naval architects of America is William Hov- 
gaard, who was professor of naval design and construction at the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1931— 1933. Neds Eobesen 
Hansen, professor of horticulture at South Dakota Agricultural Col- 
lege and Experiment Station since 1895, found in Turkestan and 
Siberia species of alfalfa that could grow on the prairies of the North- 
west. Waldemar Westergaard holds the chair of history at the 
University of California. C. Larsen, dean of agriculture in the 
South Dakota State College, is the author of several books on dairy 
science, as is also Martin Mortensen, dean of the department of dairy 
industry, Iowa State College. Julis Moldenhawer introduced pasteur- 
ization into America. There are numerous well-known Danish 
artists, among them, Rehling Quistgaard. 

In the sphere of business, Mathias P. Mleer of Hagerstown, Mary- 
land, is a pioneer in organ building and owns the largest organ riianu- 
facturing factory in America. Peter Larsen built railways for the 
Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Grand Trunk railways. The 
late John Carstensen was a vice-president of the New York Central 
Railway. George Rasmussen organized one of the largest chain 
stores in the Middle West — the National Tea Company. William 
Knudsen, executive vice-president of the General Motors Company, 
became one of the best-known leaders appointed by President Roose- 
velt to put America’s industry on a war basis during World War II. 
William Hovgaard has the distinction of being one of America’s most 
noted naval architects. 



Jean Hersholt, the Danish motion picture actor, is also famed for 
his collection of Hans Christian Andersen’s works; he has selected 
and translated thirty of his countryman’s most memorable tales 


Assimilation of Danes in America 

The notion of the integration of the Danish culture within the 
American environment is not new to some Danish- American leaders, 
as the Reverend F. L. Grundtvig, though Americanization is thought 
of less as a process of absorption than as an interplay of social forces. 
His ideas are now being acknowledged by the most enlightened 
tliinkers of America in the field of cultured pluralism. Grundmg’s 
Danish People’s Society was based on his nationalistic cultural and 
spiritual Danish-American ideals. However much he tried to incul- 
cate a love of Danish culture through the medium of his songs, he 
nevertheless always favored loyalty to America and its institutions. 
Grundtvig’s conception of America as the land of the trysting place 
of nations (Folksestaevnets Land) fepresents the great American 
ideal: that Americanization is but a fruitful exchange of the social 
heritages of all the various peoples settled in the United States — an 
exchange that will ultimately create something finer and nobler than 
any of its individual component parts. 

A. J. Barnouw 

Dutch emigration to North America took place in two widely 
separate periods: first in the seventeenth century before the seizure 
of New Netherland by the British, and again in the forties and fifties 
and subsequent decades of the nineteenth century. 

The earliest immigrants were fur traders, but after the Dutch West 
India Company was founded in 1621, a systematic attempt was made 
to bring agriculturists over to the colony. There never was any 
great enthusiasm among the Dutch at home for emigration to New 
Netherland. The home country was prosperous, there was little 
unemployment, and the conditions imposed upon the settlers by the 
company were no inducement to exchange security at home for an 
adventurous life in the new world. Those who did go were impelled 
by various reasons: wanderlust, the hope of improving their lot, the 
wish to abscond and turn over a new leaf, or a longing for freedonj 
beyond the control of government agencies. The urban population 



of the Dutch Republic was far from homogeneous, Amsterdam and 
the other cities of Holland having offered shelter to thousands of 
refugees from other countries, and the settlements in New Nether- 
land must have reflected that composite character of the nation in 
the motherland. Father Jogues, who visited New Amsterdam in the 
late forties of the seventeenth century, found eighteen different 
languages spoken on Manhattan Island. 


The Dutch in New Netherland settled on Manhattan, Long Island, 
in the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk, at the mouth of the 
Delaware, and along the lower course of the Connecticut River. 
John Miller, in Neao York Considered and Improved (1695), esti- 
mated that “the number of the inhabitants in this Province are about 
3,000 families, whereof almost one halfe are naturally Dutch.” The 
nucleus of this Dutch population of New York was the settlement 
west of the lower Hudson in the region now known as Ulster County. 
The numerical predominance of the Dutch in this part of the country 
appears from the encroachment of their language upon non-Dutch 
settlements. Until 1800, Dutch was the prevalent speech of northern 
New Jersey, from which it should not be inferred, however, that the 
entire population was of Dutch stock. Here again, as in Ulster 
County, French and German settlers, by adopting the speech of the 
majority, had become identified with the Dutch. It is, therefore, 
a hopeless task to estimate the extent of Dutch immigration up to the 
War of Independence. Intermarriage between descendants of differ- 
ent European stocks blurs the picture still further. The committee 
report to the American Council of Learned Societies arrives at a total 
of 106,750 Dutch in the territory covered by the United States in 

The second wave of immigration from the Netherlands occurred 
in the middle of the nineteenth cenmry. A large majority of these 
newcomers were recruited from the rural classes. Economic dis- 
tress drove the poorest among them to seek betterment in America. 
Religious motives were mixed with their resolve. These people 
belonged to the most orthodox among the Calvinists, to whom the 
Dutch Reformed Church seemed to have swerved from the true 
teachings of John . Calvin. They seceded from its fold and met 
in conventicles, which, being forbidden by the authorities, were 
forcibly broken up and dispersed. They hoped to find in the 
new world release from hunger and persecution, and under the 



leadership of ministers of the Word, they set sail for America. 
The first group arrived in 1 846 with the Reverend A. C. van Raalte 
at their head. With funds collected in the mother country, he pur- 
chased land between the Kalamazoo and Grand rivers and the little 
Black River, which flows into Black Lake, now part of Lake Michigan, 
but in those days separated from it by a ridge of dunes. Close to 
these natural trade routes he laid the foundations of Holland, the 
future port of the Dutch settlement in Michigan. Another group 
of like-minded seceders from the Dutch Reformed Church made a 
new home for themselves between the Des Moines and Skunk rivers 
in Iowa and called their settlement Pella. 

Also, about the same time, occurred a Roman Catholic immigration 
from the Netherlands under the leadership of Father T. J. van den 
Broek, a Dominican missionary, who had preached the gospel among 
the Indians around Green Bay and Fox River, Wisconsin, from 1834 
until 1847. In the latter year he went to Holland and returned in 
1848, at the head of a company of Roman Catholic immigrants, to 
the Fox River Valley, which is even today the center of Dutch 
Catholic colonization in the United States. 

Van Raalte, van den Broek, and Scholte, the leader of the settlers 
in Pella, Iowa, were the pioneers who showed the way to other groups 
that were to follow. The main stream turned toward Michigan. Its 
map is dotted with villages bearing names borrowed from place names 
in Holland. The other states that were attractive to the Dutch were 
New York and New Jersey in the East, owing no doubt to their 
early ties with Holland in the days of the Dutch Republic; Iowa, 
Wisconsin, and Illinois in the Middle West; and California in the Far 

The choice of these regions was determined by their similarity of 
soil and climate to that of the country from wHch the immigrants 
came. All the Dutch settlements are situated between the isothermal 
lines that also enclose the Netherlands, and their soil belongs, as does 
that of Holland, to the moraine region of the diluvial glacier. A few 
isolated attempts at colonization by Dutch settlers in Colorado, Texas, 
and Florida ended in failure because of their unfamiliarity with the 
soil they found there and with weather conditions foreign to the tem- 
perate climate of Holland. Even in the middle states best suited for 
settlement, it took them some time to adapt themselves to the greater 

^ For a detailed analysis of distribution by states, see table compiled by Dr. Neil 
van Aken, Executive Secretary of the Netherland Chamber of Commerce, New 
York City. 


disparity between summer and winter temperatures and to the long 
periods of heat and drought, which never occur in Holland. 

Until the seventies of the nineteenth century the exodus from 
Holland to the United States continued unabated. As economic 
conditions in Europe improved, the stream began to lose in volume, 
until it dwindled to a mere trickle in the early twentieth century. 
The total number of immigrants of Netherland birth now living in 
the United States, according to the census figures of 1940, is 1 1 1,064, 
which is no more than 1 per cent of all foreign-bom white residents. 
Of this number over 90,000 were living in the seven states men- 
tioned above as being attractive to Hollanders, the rest being scattered 
over the remaining forty-one states. The largest number, 32,128, 
were settled in Michigan, and of these 13,000 were in Grand Rapids, 
3,000 in Kalamazoo, 2,500 in Detroit, and 1,500 in Muskegon. These 
figures do not present an accurate picture of the Dutchness of these 
cities, for there are still many American-born descendants of the 
settlers of the forties and fifties of the past century who cling to 
Dutch customs and are able to speak the Dutch language. 

Assimilation and the Influence of Orthodoxy 

The binding force that holds Hollanders together is not their sense 
of racial unity, but the religious faith that they have in common. 
They do not feel drawn to one another because they speak the same 
language, unless they also profess the same creed. In Belly Fulla 
Straw, an autobiographical novel by David Cornel De Jong, a young 
American author who was bom in Holland and came to this country 
in his early teens, the story is told of a Dutch carpenter who, shortly 
after World War I, settled with his wife and four children in Grand 
Rapids, Michigan. He was not a church member and his children 
had not been baptized. He soon found that as a Hollander he could 
lay no claim to the help of his Dutch-American neighbors; only as 
a member of the Dutch Reformed Church was he assured of a 
welcome among them. 

The most ignorant, of course, are the most exacting neighbors. 
The less a man knows, the more cocksure he is of the little he does 
know. Such people will not allow even the slightest departure from 
the doctrines that they have learned to revere as the only trae ones; 
hence, repeated secessions from the fold by the rigidly orthodox 
occur when liberalizing tendencies threaten to undermine the faith. 
Dr. A. C. van Raalte, the heroic leader of the Holland colony in 
Michiga|^, incorporated his flock with the Dutch Reformed Church 



of America. But there was opposition against this move from the 
outset, and it was not long before the stricter members, who called 
themselves the True Dutch Reformed, seceded and organized the 
Christian Reformed Church. In 1880 there was a new schism among 
these true brethren, the truer ones forming the “Netherland Reformed 
Church,” and this separatist body split again in two by a secession 
of the truest. Such religious conservatives are also extremely tena- 
cious of Dutch language and customs. The stubbornest resistance 
to Americanization is offered by the most orthodox believers. 

This power of resistance inherent in religious orthodoxy proved 
the pioneers’ most valuable asset. For, thanks to that same power, 
they were able to withstand the trials and hardships of the life that 
awaited the first settlers in the forests of Michigan and the prairies of 
Iowa. Calvinism, thanks to the fervor with which it inspires the 
faithful, is a great builder of colonies. Even its schismatic tendencies 
proved a blessing in disguise. The rival sects sought to surpass one 
another in the care that they took of education. The Christian 
Reformed, having realized that their Dutch Reformed brethren owed 
their higher social standing to the culture that was spread among them 
by the alumni of Hope College at Holland, Michigan, redoubled their 
efforts to raise their own standard of education at Calvin College, 
Grand Rapids. This rivalry in education is benefiting both groups 
and may, in the course of time, bring about their union. As the 
Americanization process goes on, the dividing lines will gradually 
fade and fusion will automatically follow. 

This resistance to the Americanization process, especially among the 
Christian Reformed, is not due to a lingering love of the old country. 
The Dutch Calvinists of Michigan are taught by their schoolteachers 
and ministers to think of Holland as the country that a century ago 
persecuted their ancestors and compelled them to seek freedom of 
religious worship in America; and since that happened under the rule 
of King William I, they have no special affection for the House of 
Orange. After the invasion of Holland in May, 1940, a group of 
Hollanders and American friends of Holland organized the Queen 
Wilhelmina Fund for the relief of Dutch refugees. Its appeals for 
funds were coolly received by the Michigan Dutch. They were will- 
ing to help, but they objected to the fund being named for Her 

As the use of the Dutch language becomes more and more restricted 
to the church, it loses its capacity of serving the needs of everyday 
life. One need but glance at some of the Dutch papers that are still 



being published in the United States to realize that the Dutch language 
is in a state of decay. Only three, Knickerbocker W eekly, Sta?idard 
Bulletin, and the Missionary Monthly Reformed Review, have a cir- 
culation above 3,500, and each of these prints articles in both English 
and Dutch. The Dutch language does not, and cannot, produce any 
literature, for it has lost the creative vitahty that must quicken artistic 
expression. These isolated spots where Dutch speech lingers on are 
like pools of stagnant water left behind by a receding flood such as 
never again will inundate those parts. They are severed forever 
from the mainspring whence the tides came rushing on until the 
immigration laws of 1921 and 1924 threw up dikes in protection 
against them. 

No Dutch American has ever portrayed life as it is lived in these 
settlements in a novel written in the Dutch language. The few 
writers who chose that theme expressed themselves in English, and 
one of these, Edna Ferber, the author of So Big, a story of Dutch 
people in Roseland, Chicago, is not a Dutch American. Cobie de 
Lespinasse, in The Bells of Helnnis, has told a story of a Dutch settle- 
ment in the Middle States that is disintegrated by religious schism. 
David Cornel de Jong’s autobiography. With a Dutch Accent, 
describes the Americanization of a Dutch boy brought from a small 
village on the Frisian coast to the city of Grand Rapids. 

Arnold Mulder is an American of Dutch descent who has drama- 
tized, in a series of four novels, the conflict between the younger 
generation, which is wholeheartedly American, and their elders, who 
will not surrender their Dutchness. Mulder himself is of that younger 
generation. He has surrendered, along with his Dutchness, the old 
orthodox faith. He remains, nevertheless, a resident of Kalamazoo, 
Michigan, which may be taken as welcome evidence that the exclusive 
bigotry which kept heterodox Hollanders apart in pioneer days has 
yielded to a more tolerant spirit. And this leads one to the para- 
doxical conclusion that the Dutch as a people become united when 
they cease to assert themselves as Dutchmen. 

Since the church is the binding force that holds Dutch immigrants 
together, it follows that their social life, as distinct from the American 
life around them, will center around the church. The Christian 
Reformed Church forbids membership in secret societies such as the 
Masonic Order, whose initial oaths they condemn as unscriptural. 
The Dutch Reformed Church, which has not expressed itself on this 
point, leaves the decision to local churches, many of which forbid 
their members to join such societies. Mission work and charity are 



prominent activities of both churches. The Dutch Reformed, which 
is financially the stronger of the two, has carried its mission work into 
Japan, China, India, and Arabia. The Christian Reformed Church, 
though also active in China, has restricted itself more to mission work 
among the Navajo Indians and to welfare work among the poor and 
the outcasts of society at home. There are also several societies 
among the Dutch that are organized for the double purpose of pro- 
viding entertainment and insuring their members against the excessive 
costs of hospitalization and burial. There are five such cooperative 
insurance societies in Chicago, and one in Greater New York, called 
Eendracht Maakt Macht (Strength in Unity). There are Knicker- 
bocker societies in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in Chicago, purely 
social organizations of Hollanders and descendants of Hollanders who 
are still attached to the land of their origin. The Frisians, who are 
the only Netherlanders speaking a language other than Dutch, main- 
tain their own Frisian selskips (societies) in Paterson, New Jersey, 
Rochester, New York, Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan, 
Chicago and Hebron, Illinois, and at Clearwater, California. Amer- 
icans of Frisian descent organized in 1943 a Frisian Information Bureau 
which intends to spread knowledge about Friesland and Frisian history 
and culture. It began the publication of a Bulletin in January, 1944, 
eight issues of which had appeared by October, 1944. 

The Algemeen Nederlmdsch V erbond (General Netherland 
League), a world- wide organization with headquarters in Holland, 
whose purpose is to maintain the cultural bond among Netherlanders 
scattered all over the world, including the Dutch-speaking people of 
Belgium and South Africa, has a New York chapter called Afdeeling 
Nieuw Nederland. It has never appealed to the Dutch settlers in 
the Middle West, probably because of its nonsectarian character. Its 
meetings are held on Dutch national feast days, such as Sinter- 
klaas (Santa Claus), which the Hollanders celebrate on December 
the fifth; the anniversary of the Rehef of Leyden on October 
third; the Queen’s aijd Princess Juliana’s birthdays; and similar occa- 

Little has been said so far about those Hollanders who, without 
any church affiliation, come to this country and settle in an Enghsh- 
speaking community. They soon lose their Dutchness and become 
Americans. The educated Hollander adapts himself easily to foreign 
ways, and his knowledge of the English language, which is taught in 
all Dutch high schools, facilitates the process of adaptation. Their 
number was swelled by the streani of well-to-do refugees that poured 



into this country after the Nazi invasion. Prominent businessmen 
are among them. The internationally known firm, Philips Electrical 
Industries of Eindhoven, Holland, moved its headquarters to New 
York, and several other concerns followed its example. The East 
Indies also contributed their share. The majority of those who 
escaped capture by the Japanese settled in Cahfomia, 

Contributions to American Life 

A large number of native Dutchmen are to be found on the 
faculties of our colleges and universities. The statistics of Nether- 
land exports do not list the scholars whom Holland sends abroad. 
Bulbs and butter and cheese supply food for speculation to the statis- 
ticians at The Hague. They are not concerned with scientists and 
savants. Still, Queen Wilhelmina’s country produces a larger number 
of these than its universities are able to absorb, and since the United 
States, praised be Congress, has never erected a tariff barrier against 
their importation, American institutions of higher learning are gather- 
ing the fruit of learning that Holland raised. The majority of them 
belong to the Netherlands University League of North America, 
which has a membership of over eighty and meets twice or three times 
a year for the discussion of scientific and cultural topics. In one of 
these gatherings the plan was conceived for the publication of a sym- 
posium on the contribution of Holland to the sciences, which was 
completed in 1943. 

Four Hollanders who have achieved national fame in the United 
States are the late Edward Bok, the late writer and lecturer Hendrik 
Willem van Loon, the airplane builder and aviator Anthony Fokker, 
and Hans Kindler, conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, 
Washington, D. C. 

In 1921, New Yorkers were invited to view an uncommon exhibi- 
tion. It was called “America’s Making” and claimed to give a com- 
prehensive survey of the various contributions made to American life 
by the thirty-odd nations that have sent immigrants to the United 
States. The show, the papers said, was a great success. It was, 
indeed, a gorgeous pageant of native costumes from aU parts of 
Europe; it was a busy workshop where potters and glassblowers and 
lacemakers and glovers and woodcarvers were plying their old-world 
trades; it was a busy market of picturesquely furnished booths, where 
ladies in uncommon European garb and common American accent 
sold the kind of knickknack that tourists bring home from transatlantic 
trips. It was, in short, a demonstration not of what these various 



races had given to America, but of the things they had lost in giving 
themselves to this country. 

The immigrants’ contributions to American life are not so tangible 
as to be capable of visible demonstration. These aliens from many 
lands brought along with them their faiths, their ethics, their industry, 
their skill, their prejudices, but of these no exhibits can be made. 
America’s making is too complicated a process to admit of so simple 
a demonstration. It cannot be visualized — ^it can only be told; and 
even the historian who is able to collect and arrange the facts and 
interpret them with a philosophic understanding will find himself 
balked in his task by the insufiiciency and the elusiveness of his 

Francis J. Brown 

Although Belgium is the most densely populated country in Europe, 
having 688 persons to the square mile, the country has never been 
a great source of emigration. The state was exceptionally prosperous 
— at least before World War II — and its emigration has been com- 
paratively slight. Whatever emigration there has been from Belgium 
in recent times, the bulk of it has gone to the United States, which 
admitted a total of 160,487 Belgians from 1820 to 1943, the great 
majority coming after 1,880 and the largest number in the first decade 
of the twentieth century. Most of them are Flemish rather than 
Walloons, and they come largely from peasant districts. It is esti- 
mated that 75 per cent of all Belgians in the United States are Flem- 

In 1940, there were approximately 60,000 foreign-born Belgians and 
1 3 5,000 Belgians “of foreign white stock” in the United States. Most 
of them live in Michigan, Illinois, and New York, although they can 
be found in every state of the Union. This is indicated by the 
Belgian names of some of our communities; Antwerp (New York and 
Ohio); Brussels (Illinois and Wisconsin); Ghent (Minnesota and 
Kentucky) ; Charleroi (Pennsylvania) ; and others. 

Almost half of the Belgian Americans have settled in rural areas. 
The skill of the Belgians as truck farmers and gardeners is well known. 
They have imported a great many of their magnificent draft horses, 
and their splendid breeds of dogs are appreciated as much as their 
carrier pigeons. Following the old Belgian custom, pigeon races are 
conducted regularly in the Belgian settlements. Belgians are familiar 



with tapestry weaving; glass, rug, and leather- making; the making 
of house furnishings (mainly those of wood); the art of the potter 
and of the goldsmith; wood and stone carving; diamond cutting (a 
specialty of the artisans from Antwerp, living especially in New 
York); cutlery and cigar malting. The Flemings are especially 
interested in the textile industry, while the Walloons engage in 
metallurgy. The Belgian workers are employed in the factories 
and silk mills of Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, and Mohne, Illinois, 
South Bend, Indiana, Rochester, New York, Paterson, New Jersey, 
and New York City; and they are employed as glass-blowers in 
Wheehng, West Virginia. A number of them are brick masons, 
stone workers, and architects. Belgians are also famed as cooks, 
bakers, butchers, and sailors. Although little handmade, exquisite 
Belgian lace is imported today, it is being produced here by Flemish- 
American housewives. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Religion. Most of the Belgian immigrants are Catholics. There 
are two Belgian Catholic churches in Detroit, and one in each of the 
cities named above, as well as in San Antonio, Texas, and Ghent, 
Minnesota. The Church of St. Albert on West Forty-seventh Street 
in New York City is the social and religious focal point for some 
30,000 Belgians from Long Island, New York, and Hoboken and 
Paterson, New Jersey. Another colony is gathered in Rochester 
around the Our Lady of Victory Church, founded about 1880, which 
has a membership of some 1,200 members; in addition to these, there 
are close to 3,000 Belgians in the neighboring places of Canandaigua, 
Phelps, Newark, Chfton Springs, Ontario, and Marion. 

Language and customs. The problems besetting most other immi- 
grant groups of America are of httle importance to the Belgians, for 
the Belgians readily become American citizens. In 1940 nearly 70 
per cent of their foreign bom had been naturahzed. The differences 
between the Flemings and Walloons are not of serious consequence 
in the United States. Although there are some dividing lines between 
these two branches of Belgians whenever the two are represented in 
the same community, this is largely because of the economic and 
social levels of the immigrants; the Flemish group is composed mostly 
of farmers and unskUled laborers; the Walloon branch is mainly repre- 
sented by skilled laborers and better educated individuals. Even the 
numbers of each branch indicate that their differences cannot be too 
serious: for example, the Flemings compose about 90 per cent of all 



Belgians in New York City and its environs. Both of the Belgian- 
American newspapers, De Gazette van Moline (Moline, Illinois) and 
De Gazette van Detroit (Detroit, Michigan) are printed in Flemish. 
As the greater part of both groups is Catholic, religious differences 
do not complicate other points of disagreement, as they do among 
the Dutch. 

Even the problem of the “second generation” is of no serious con- 
sequence to the Belgians in America. The Belgian immigrant group 
is not haunted by such opprobrious names as “Bohunk,” “Chink,” 
or “Sheenie.” The attitude of good feeling and sympathy on the 
part of the average American, developed at the beginning of World 
War I, tends to create pride in the American-bom Belgians. Al- 
though they may use English in speaking to their parents, there is no 
marked resentment on their part against the parental background. 
Thus, they very easily merge into their American environment. 

Contributions to American Life 

Early contributions. Few American histories give adequate, if 
any, recognition of the importance of the Belgians in early American 
history. Quite literally, it was a Belgian who first “put America on 
the map.” Mercator, bom in the little town of Rupplemonde, near 
Antwerp, made the early maps of the new world, and it was on his 
map of 1541 that the name “America” appeared for the first time 
on the northern continent of the western hemisphere. Father Louis 
Hennepin, a Belgian Catholic priest, a Walloon, explored a large 
portion of America and was the first white man to see Niagara Falls. 
His book, A Neiu Discovery of a Large Country in America^ contains 
the earliest description of this vast region and was one of the first 
printed “advertisements” of the wonders of the new land. A street 
in Minneapolis, a village in Illinois, and a county in Minnesota bear 
his name. His publications were the three most famous books of 
the period — books that were to give everlasting glory to their author 
and to remind Americans of the part that Belgians had played in the 
exploration of the United States. In 1683 his first book appeared. 
Description of Louisiana-, in 1697, The Ne^ Discovery of a Very 
Large Country came out in Utrecht; and a third book, A Trip 
Through a Country Larger than Europe, was published in the same 

These works were beyond any doubt the best sellers of the time. 
They were translated into Flemish, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, 
and English, a real accomplishment for that period. Proof of the 



great influence of Pere Hennepin’s work is the fact that there were 
fifty editions of his three books within a few years. 

Many other Belgian explorers and missionaries followed in Father 
Hennepin’s footsteps. Among them may be recalled the uncle of 
Cardinal Mercier, Father Croquet, who was known as “the Saint of 
Oregon,” and Archbishop Soghers, who was called “the Apostle of 
Alaska.” One of the greatest of all was Father De Smet. Born in 
East Flanders in i8oi, he began his great missionary work among the 
American Indians in 1823. His “little parish” extended from the 
Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. 

Although the Dutch usually receive the credit for being the first 
settlers of New York and vicinity, actually the first settlers were 
Walloons, people from the southern parts of Belgium. Thousands of 
Belgians became Protestants in the sixteenth century. The Catholic 
rulers of Spain rigorously persecuted these Protestants, who fled in 
large numbers to the northern parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and 
elsewhere. Jesse de Forest organized the first band of Belgian colo- 
nists to come to Manhattan Island; he was a Belgian Walloon, born at 
Avesnes, which was at that time a part of the Belgian province of 
Hainaut and which remained a part of that province until ceded to 
France by the Treaty of Pyrenees in 1659. But it was a Fleming, 
William Usselinx, who organized the West India Company which 
made it possible for these colonists to come. Their first group came 
to Manhattan Island in 1623 on the ship New Netherland. The fact 
that they had sailed from Holland has caused many historians to 
believe that they were natives of the southern parts of Belgium, then 
called the Comte de Hainaut and the Comte de Flandre, and that they 
came largely from the cities of Avesnes, Valenciennes, and Lille, On 
the other hand, these Calvinists of Belgium are also confused with 
the French Huguenots, as these cities were annexed to France, after 
the victorious wars of Louis XIV, in 1658 and 1678. 

Hence the first settlers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, 
Delaware, and Pennsylvania, the Middle Atlantic states, were Belgian 
Walloons. In fact, the maps of the seventeenth century indicate the 
whole territory from Cape Cod to the Delaware River as Nova 
Belgica. A Walloon monument was erected in Battery Park, New 
York City, on May 20, 1924, near the spot where the Walloons had 
landed three hundred years before. It is a plain shaft of stone, with 
the coat of arms of the Province of Hainaut. In the upper part runs 
a garland of sculptured oak leaves, and below is an inscription that 





According to Bayer, it was a man of Belgian blood, Peter Minuit, 
who bought Manhattan Island from the Indians in 1626; it was a 
good bargain, as he paid for the whole tract on which the city of 
New York is situated the price of only 60 gulden — or about I24 in 
American money. 

Even if we have no documentary evidence of Nicolas Martian’s 
Belgian origin, his very name stamps him as a Walloon of old stock. 
“Martian,” a corruption of the French word “Marteau,” is a distinc- 
tive Walloon dialect word meaning “hammer” and is still used today 
among the peasants of Belgium. Martian came to Virginia about. 
1623 and became a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 
and later on, from 1633 to 1657, a justice of York. His great-grand- 
daughter married Lawrence Washington, the grandfather of George 
Washington. Martian was also the ancestor of other men prominent 
in the colonial history of America, among them being Thomas Nelson, 
governor of Virginia, who commanded the Virginia troops at the 
Battle of Yorktown under Washington. 

We have the record of some Belgian officers who accompanied the 
Marquis de la Fayette, among them Charles de Pauw, of Ghent, whose 
grandson later founded De Pauw University in Indiana. 

Recent contributions. In more recent times, the late Dr. Leo 
Hendrik Baekeland, Belgian-born chemist, gave the world thousands 
of plastic items from billiard balls to insulation for battleships through 
his invention of bakelite. He was also noted as the inventor of 
Velox, a highly sensitized photographic printing paper, the ori ginal 
formula for which he sold to the Eastman Kodak Company for 
$1,000,000. He was founder of both the General Bakelite Company 
and the Bakelite Corporation. A native of Ghent, Dr. Baekeland 
came to this country toward the turn of the century to continue the 
research work he started at the University of Ghent and aided in 
developing the Townsend electrolytic cell for producing caustic soda 



and chlorine from salt. During World War I he was a member of 
the United States Naval Consulting Board and the advisory board of 
the Department of Commerce’s chemical division and chairman of the 
committee on patents of the National Research Council. He was 
first Chandler lecturer at Columbia University and held an honorary 
professorship in chemical engineering at the university after 1917 
until his death in 1 944. He also was president of the Inventors’ Guild 
and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and served as this 
country’s delegate to the International Congress of Chemistry in 1 909. 

A member of the University of Notre Dame, Father Nieland, is the 
famous discoverer of artificial rubber, developed by the du Fonts; 
this invention broke the British monopoly in the rubber field. Andre 
Parmentier, a Walloon bom in Belgium, is one of the founders of 
landscape gardening in America. Several Belgians have taught at 
Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Georgetown universities. The 
Catholic University of Louvain inspired the idea of the Cathohc Uni- 
versity of America, and the graduates of the American College of 
Louvain have furnished the bulk of pioneer educational work in 
Michigan, Washington, Montana, and Oklahoma. The great violin- 
ist, Eugene Ysaye, is well known to America’s music lovers, and New 
Yorkers remember Ernest Van Dyck, Madame Delaunois, and 
Madame Lardinois, of Metropolitan Opera fame. General Goethals, 
whose name is always associated with the Panama Canal, was of 
Belgian descent, as was also the late Dr. Maurice Francis Egan, former 
United States minister to Denmark, one of the foremost writers of 
America and professor in the Universities of Georgetown and Notre 
Dame, and the Catholic University of America. The eulogy of 
Father Joseph Damien, of Louvain, was written by Robert Louis 
Stevenson for his courageous work among the lepers of Hawaii. 
Henry J. Mail, honorary vice-consul of Belgium in New York City, 
represents the fourth generation of the family holding this office and 
interested in the manufacture of woolens. Mgr. J. F. Stillemans 
organized the Belgian Rehef in America during World War I and 
for many years was director of the Belgian Bureau in New York 

In addition to the contributions of Belgian immigrants, America’s 
public museums and private collections treasure priceless Flemish 
tapestries, leather carvings, sculpture, engravings, porcelain cabinets, 
chests, artistic furniture, laces, and bookbindings. The office building 
of the Delaware and Hudson Company at Albany, New York, is a 
modernized reproduction of the famous “Cloth Hall” of Ypres. 



Memorial Day is of special significance among Belgian Americans, 
as the New York troops, the Twenty-seventh Division, were among 
the first soldiers to fight as a unit on Belgian soil. The American 
public is reminded every year that the wild poppy of Flanders is the 
emblem of the American Legion. Our patriotic memories are stirred 
by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s great poem of World War I, 
“In Flanders Fields”: 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row. 

That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are- the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. 

Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders Fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe; 

To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 

If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders Fields. 

Twenty years later, the heel of the invader again trampled over 
Flanders fields and Belgian Americans were soon fighting once more 
with other American forces “where poppies blow.” 


Francis J. Brown 

As the British influenced the development of New England and the 
east-central colonies, so the French explorers and colonists left their 
indelible imprint upon the territory almost completely surrounding it. 
Two separate paths were hewn through the wilderness, one up the 
St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Basins and down the Mississippi to 
Louisiana, the other from Florida across the southern lowlands to 
join at the mouth of the “Father of Waters.” Forts were built at 
strategic points along these paths, colonies were established, and from 
these focal points new areas were explored and new settlements were 

As early as 1541, Jean Frangois de la Roque, named by the king 
lieutenant-general of New France, and Jacques Cartier built a small 



fort near the site of what is now Quebec. They called it Charles- 
bourg Royal, but after three struggling years the fort was abandoned. 

It was nearly a century later, in 1632, before colonization in the 
upper St. Lawrence country was resumed. Gradually explorers and 
traders pushed west, north, and south. Samuel de Champlain ex- 
plored the lake in upper New York State that bears his name and was 
the first white man to see Lake Huron. Through his efforts, French 
influence had been spread southward to the Hudson River and west- 
ward as far as the interlocking streams which in Wisconsin formed the 
principal canoe route to the Mississippi. 

Even more permanent was the influence of the Jesuit missionaries, 
who, in 1 640, began their courageous struggle to convert the Indians 
to Christianity. Despite every conceivable hardship, in a little more 
than half a century leaders such as Fathers Marquette, Johet, and 
LaSalle, and hundreds more who are nameless in history, had estab- 
lished missions and trading posts aU along the Great Lakes and down 
the Mississippi, some of them, like Chicago, St. Louis, and New 
Orleans to become great cities. It was through the valiant efforts of 
these missionaries that France laid claim to the vast Louisiana Terri- 

The first French settlement in Florida was established in 1562 on 
the St. John River and named Fort Caroline. Like the Puritans, these 
first colonists were Protestants and came for religious freedom. Un- 
der the leadership of Ribauld and Laudonniere the little colony did 
well and three years later was increased by the arrival of seven hundred 
men and two hundred women. The Spaniards, however, believed 
that the Protestants were heretics and, only a few years later, destroyed 
the colony, thus virtually ending French influence in this region. 

The only state-supervised French colonization on what is now 
United States territory was that of Louisiana. Mobile was founded 
in 1702 and New Orleans in 1719. Louisiana colony was established 
largely as a commercial venture, backed by the Scot, John Law, then 
a banker in France. When voluntary emigration failed, he induced 
vagrants and even a few criminals to join the two hundred families 
he had persuaded to venture the long, dangerous voyage. This fact 
led to a scandal which resulted in the bankruptcy of Law and the 
withdrawal of all official backing of the colony. 

Despite this fact, the colony remained and grew m population and 
in influence. Most of the settlers raised tobacco, while others became 
trappers and traded with the Indians. Following the course of rivers, 
the Louisiana colony stretched northward like a great westward tipped 


V and at the time of its cession to Spain had a population of eleven 

Another group,- sometimes referred to as Italian Protestants, should 
also be mentioned — ^the Waldensians, who came to America in 1656. 
They were members of a Christian sect that arose in southern France 
in 1170, and were considered heretical by the Catholic Church. 
Some of them migrated to northern Italy and settled in the fertile well- 
wooded Waldensian valleys that lie southwest of Turin, and thus they 
became known as the Waldensians. They arrived first in New York 
and Delaware in 1656. Another group of Waldensians settled at 
Stony Brook, Staten Island; and, according to Morris’s Memorial 
History of Staten Island, it was there that they built their first 
churches, the first of any denomination on the island, in 1670. In 
1773, another group of the Waldensians came to America from 

Differing in religious belief at a time when to be different was to 
be a heretic, and with their homelands almost continually at war 
with one another, it was inevitable that the colonists of England, 
France, and Spain should come into frequent conflict with one an- 
other. The British capture of Quebec in 1759, the long series of 
wars and the final sale of the Louisiana Territory to the United States 
in 1803, are familiar to every school child. To say, however, that 
French influence ended with the Louisiana Purchase would be to 
ignore the deep foundations that had been laid. National feeling 
never subsided, and today nearly half a million people hving in 
the former settlements of the Louisiana colony continue to speak 

Later Immigration 

The intervening period of French immigration differs little from 
that of other north European countries except in one important char- 
acteristic: immigration remained more constant from 1830 to 1930 
than did that of any other country. During the decade 1831 
to 1840, it was 45,575, and from 1921 to 1930 it was 49,610. The 
highest peak, 1841 to 1850, was but 77,262, and the lowest, 1891 to 
1900, was 30,770. Total French immigration from 1820 to 1943 
was 605,430. 

The number of French-bom in the United States in 1940 was 
102,930. This is a small group compared with the number from other 
large nations. Even if to this number is added those of the second 
French generation, the total, according to the 1940 census, is 199,110. 



Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

The direct result of the early history of the French in America is 
clearly shown in the fact that the percentage of Americans of French 
descent living in Louisiana is greater than in any other area of the 
United States. The rather large number of French and French 
Canadians found in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and Michigan 
bear evidence of the trek of early colonists and missionaries. Al- 
though, like other “old” immigrants, French Americans are now 
scattered through America, there are some 35,000 in New York City, 
and, on the west coast, there is a fairly large group in San Francisco. 

The French have several organizations which maintain and propa- 
gate French ideals in America. One of the most important of these 
is the Federation de V Alliance Frangaise aux Etats-Unis et Canada 
(French Alliance in United States and Canada), which has head- 
quarters in New York Qty and branch offices in all of the larger 
cities of the United States. The Alliance organizes series of lectures 
by well-known French leaders. Many branches also organize social 
gatherings to provide an opportunity for French-speaking people to 
get together and to keep up their language. 

What are the occupations of this relatively small number of French 
immigrants? Unlike the other foreign colonies, the element of non- 
speciahzed manual labor is almost nonexistent among the French. On 
the other hand, the predominating groups are those engaged in teach- 
ing. This group, consisting of university and college professors, high 
school and private school teachers, tutors, and so on, contributes the 
most toward the dilfusion of the French language, French ideas, and 
French culture. French summer schools such as those of Middlebury, 
Columbia University, Mills College, and Penn State, although the 
duration of their courses is quite short, do remarkable work with 
French students through afforing them a typical French atmosphere 
in which to live. Middlebury College is recognized by the Sorbonne. 

The next largest group consists of cooks, who range from paid chefs 
engaged in the largest and most exclusive hotels of America down to 
kitchen boys. In New York alone, more than 3,000 are engaged in 
this profession. A large group is engaged as domestic help, including 
servants and chauffeurs. However, since wages in this type of em- 
ployment are low compared to other employment, these positions no 
longer attract so many immigrants. In fact, a great many returned to 
France prior to the war. Also, French hairdressers for ladies are very 
much in demand in the United States and their prestige is high in com- 



parison with that of hairdressers of other nationalities. As a matter 
of fact, many hairdressers who have no French connections take 
French names in order to attract a larger clientele. 

Several other groups should be mentioned, such as those who are 
engaged in the perfume, silk, cosmetic, jewelry, and wine businesses, 
either as owners, managers, or salesmen. 

The assimilation of the French parallels that of other foreign- 
language groups from northern Europe. The complete absence of 
any attitude of prejudice makes for the free interplay of social inter- 
action, and many individuals merge wholly into American life and 
institutions. On the other hand, there are many areas in which the 
native French ^ have formed definite culture groups. The French 
colony of New Y ork may be taken as fairly typical. It is so organized 
that it has formed a regular French community in the heart of the 
city. It has its own churches, hospital, pharmacies, school (French 
lycee), theater, newspapers, and magazines. Thus it has been able 
to maintain not only its own language but also its institutions and 

With their homeland overrun, in World War II, those of French 
origin sought in various ways to perpetuate the sense of national 
unity. They contributed generously to the maintenance of the 
activities of their govemment-in-exile and maintained active contacts 
through available channels. Their own cultural and fraternal organ- 
izations were even more active than before. Yet, at the same time 
their sons and daughters enlisted in the armed forces in large numbers 
and contributed not alone to the restoration of their mother country 
but even more to the preservation of American ideals to which their 
forebears have made so significant a contribution. 

Contributions to American Life 

Among the settlers peopling the Atlantic coast, the Huguenots have 
had a large influence on our history and are stiU a dominant force. 
Their simple life, frugal habits, domestic virtues, their cultivation of 
music and the arts, have all had a distinct share in the molding of the 
American national spirit and character. 

New York was founded by Pierre Minuit, who settled on Man- 
hattan in 1619 and bought the island from the Indians in 1624. The 
village was called at first “Neu-Belgica,” as many of the followers of 
Minuit were Walloons; then it was changed to “Village of Neu- 
Avesnes” (Avesnes is a town of northern France, the birthplace of 

1 A distinction must be made between the native French and the Canadian and 
Swiss French, discussed in their respective chapters. 



Jesse de Forest, a Huguenot leader of the Group). When tercen- 
tenary stamps of the foundation of New York were issued in 1924, 
they bore no mention of the Dutch settlers.^ 

A Huguenot was the first president of the Colonial Congress. John 
Jay became the first chief justice of our country and president of the 
Continental Congress. Alexander Hamilton was a Huguenot on his 
mother’s side. Descendants of the Huguenots have been prominent 
in all walks of life; among the most outstanding we might mention 
Paul Revere, Presidents Tyler, Garfield, and the Roosevelts, Admiral 
Dewey, and the La Follettes of Wisconsin. 

American history abounds in the great names of the Frenchmen 
who fought in our War of Independence. Lafayette and Rocham- 
beau are the greatest of them. Stephen Girard was another hero 
who aided us in our struggle for freedom. John James Audubon is 
“the man who introduced us to the birds of America.” Augustus 
Saint-Gaudens was a great American sculptor. 

In the field of science, the name of the late Dr. Alexis Carrel may 
well be mentioned for his splendid research work at the Rockefeller 
Foundation. He was French by birth but he became an American 

These are but a few of the many of French origin who have con- 
tributed much to American life. From earliest history to the present, 
the gifts of such men to America have been lasting and invaluable. 

A. B. Faust 

The most immediate and impressive fact about the Germans in 
America, viewing them historically, is that they have contributed 
over 25 per cent of the flesh and blood composing the present white 
population of the United States. The English element (including 
Scots, North Irish, and Welsh) alone exceeds them with about 33 
per cent, and third come the Irish (Free State or Catholic) with about 
15 per cent. None of the other numerous national stocks exceeds 
5 per cent by the same calculation.^ 

L. Henin, as expressed in his “American Historical Oration,” delivered at 
Newport, Rhode Island, on July 14, 1928, for the commemoration of the landing of 
the French expeditionary troops. The fact that Minuit and de Forest are “claimed” 
by the Dutch, Belgians, and French is a further illustration of the ethnocentrism of 
minority groups, as is also the claim of the French Huguenots by both French and 

^This estimate has been carefully derived by statistical methods explained in 
detail in the writer’s book, The German Element in the United States, VoL II, 
Chapter 1 . 



Characteristic of the German immigrations throughout their history 
has been the very slight return migration to the native country as 
compared with recent immigrations. Their assimilation was rapid 
almost to a fault. The children of German parentage exhibited traits 
recognized as typically American. These were produced by many 
historical and economic conditions: the pressure of frontier habits, 
the quest for land and large opportunities, the common level of edu- 
cational facilities, and the democratic environment and government. 
We cannot thinV of the German element without the historical back- 
ground, beginning with the colonial period and following their con- 
tributions to, and participation in, the upbuilding of the American 


Early settlements. The Germans had their Mayflower. It was the 
ship Concord, which on October 6, 1683, brought the first body of 
Ger man immigrants to Philadelphia. Their leader, Franz Daniel 
Pastorius, had come in advance and bought from William Penn a 
neighboring tract of land, on which he established the first German 
permanent settlement in the American colonies, only two years after 
the founding of Philadelphia in 1681. This settlement was called 
Germantown and became the distributing center for the large and 
continuous German immigrations throughout the eighteenth century. 
The German settlers spread over the central and southern counties of 
Pennsylvania and formed a new base in Lancaster County. Thence 
they followed the mountain range to the southward, colonizing 
western Maryland. Crossmg the Potomac they ascended the Shenan- 
doah Valley and made of the Valley of Virginia a rich agricultural 
country. There they stood in readiness to trek southwestward into 
Tennessee and Kentucky, or directly southward to the banks of the 
Yadkin and Catawba in North Carohna. 

The Moravians began their settlement of the Wachovia district, 
now Forsyth and Stokes counties (North Carolina), about 1750, 
only nine years after their original settlement of Bethlehem, Pennsyl- 
vania, by Zinzendorf in 1741. South Carolina also received a large 
contingent of German settlers m the eighteenth century, who came 
through the port of Charleston. Some few remained at the seaport, 
but most of them, beginning about 1735, settled permanently in what 
was known as the Saxe-Gotha district, the present Orangeburg and 
Lexington counties, then the extreme western frontier. There was 
a tradition that Queen Anne had set aside this southern area for the 


settlement of the Palatines, the name given the German refugees who 
had come to London in great numbers in 1709 and thereafter, hoping 
to be transported to the American colonies. Just so, Queen Anne 
traditionally granted them a tract of land in the north, at the request 
of American Indians visiting London. 

This “promised land” was Schoharie in the colony of New York. 
Governor Hunter brought over a large number of the Palatines in 
1710, to carry out his plan of producing tar from the pines at East 
and West Camp on the Hudson. After the failure of this ejcperiment, 
on Livingston Manor, the German colonists left for Schoharie and 
built seven villages there. When an attempt was made to dispossess 
them, some migrated to new land on the Mohawk, which was soon 
settled almost exclusively by German pioneers on both its banks. 

The most northerly settlement of the Germans in the eighteenth 
century was that of Waldoboro, Maine, in 1751, and the most 
southerly that of the Salzburgers, in 1734, at Ebenezer, Georgia, then 
the southernmost limit of settlement. Many German tradesmen re- 
mained in the coast cities of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and 
Charleston; and Pennsylvania remained the most thickly settled by the 
German element, Germans numbering over one third of the total 
population. In the entire area of the thirteen colonies in 1775, the 
German contribution was about one tenth of the white population. 
These German settlers of the eighteenth century were for the most 
part agricultural people, accustomed to hard work and efficient in the 
methods then known of procuring the greatest yield per acre. 

The German Quakers of Germantown immortalized themselves by 
their formal protest against Negro slavery in 1788, the first time such 
action was taken in the history of the American people. Also a deed 
of imperishable fame was the printing by Christopher Saur in 1743 of 
the complete Lutheran Bible in the German language. It was the 
first Bible printed in a European language in the American colonies 
(John Eliot’s printing in 1663 was a translation into the Algonquian 
language of sections of the Bible) . Another eminent German printer 
was Henry Miller, subsequendy printer of Congress, who announced 
the ratification of the Declaration of Independence in his Staatsbote, 
on Friday, July 5, 1776, a day ahead of the other Philadelphia papers, 
and issued a complete German translation of the declaration in his 
paper on July 9th. 

It was not the first time that a German printer and publisher wrote 
himself into history, for Peter Zenger, founder of the independent 
New York Weekly Journal, was tried for hbel in 1735 (defended by 



the Scotch-Irish Andrew Hamilton), and made the first great fight 
for the liberty of the press in America. Still earlier in the New York 
colony, in the seventeenth century, the prominent merchant, Jacob 
Leisler, bom in Frankfurt-on-the-Main, during an interregnum was 
elected the first people’s governor of New York, called the first 
congress of American colonies in May, 1 690, and suffered martyrdom 
for his independence and public spirit when overcome in 1691 by 
his enemies. 

Later irnmigration. During the nineteenth century German immi- 
gration outdistanced all others and reached its highest peaks as follows: 
1846-1854, the period before and after the German revolutionary 
years of 1848-1849. During those nine years almost 900,000 Ger- 
mans arrived, an extremely large number for those days. Over half 
of these came in 1852-1854; the banner year was 1854 with 215,009. 
Missouri, Wisconsin, and Texas were then the pioneer sections toward 
which many directed their course. There was another high wave 
between 1866 and 1873, with a general average of 100,000 annually. 
Then again there was an upward bound after 1880, with the record 
of 250,630 in 1882. After another rise in 1891-1892, when 244,000 
arrived within two years, there was a steady decline, owing to more 
prosperous conditions at home and the disappearance of free or cheap 
land in the United States. An average annual German immigration 
of 20,000 diminished steadily until it reached the vanishing point 
during the first World War. Immigration began again in the 1920’s 
and continued almost to maximum quota. From the beginning of 
World War II to June 30, 1943, 80,022 Germans, largely refugees, 
were admitted. This number is 3 1 per cent of all immigration during 
this five-year period and is more than four times that of any other 
country except Canada. 

Contributions to American Life 

Industrial development. In the industrial history of the nineteenth 
century the Germans became pre-eminent in all those branches that 
required technical training. They had had the advantage of technical 
schools at home, while similar institutions had not yet been founded 
in America. Above all we see the Germans leading as engineers. 
John A. Roebling built the first great suspension bridge over the 
Niagara River, and followed it by his Brooklyn Bridge. Just as 
prominent in another type of bridge-building, Charles C. Schneider, 
with his cantilever bridge over the Niagara llWver, demonstrated that 
this type was superior for carrying heavy railway traffic. Gustav 



Lindenthal was consulting engineer and architect of the Hell Gate 
steel arch bridge over the East River; and these examples might be 
multiplied. The only peer of Edison in electrical engineering was 
Charles P. Steinmetz, the wizard of Schenectady; and in mining 
engineering the name of Adolf Sutro, constructor of the great tunnel 
under Virginia City in Nevada, will never be forgotten. Albert Fink, 
expert railway engineer, was the originator of through tralEc in 
freight and passenger service, while Count Zeppelin made his first 
experiments in military aviation in this country during the Civil War. 

In the nineteenth century, however, the Germans led not only in 
the engineering branches, but in many others requiring technical 
training and the ingenuity of the expert. Thus, in the chemical 
industries and manufacture of drugs, German names were outstand- 
ing: Rosengarten, Pfizer, Dohme, Vogler, Meyer, Schieffelin, Lehn, 
and Fink; in the manufacture of pianos and musical instruments: Stein- 
way, Knabe, Weber, Sohmer, Wurlitzer, Gemxinder, and others; op- 
tical instruments: Bausch and Lomb; textiles: A. Dodge, Deimel, Thun, 
Janssen, Oberlaender, Horstmann, Fries, and so on; tanning: Foer- 
derer, Schoellkopf, Carl Schmidt, Schieren, Groetzinger, Pfister and 
Vogel, and others; wagon and car manufacnuing: Smdebaker, Brill, 
Wagner; agricultural machinery: Aultman, Miller, Seiberling, 
Buchtel, Landis, Crouse; iron and steel manufactures: names too 
numerous to mention, from Baron Stiegel and Hasenclever in the 
eighteenth century to Frick and Schwab of the nineteenth; metals: 
zinc — ^Mathieson and Hegler, Heckscher; aluminum — ^Koenig, Vits, 
Werra, Wentorf, and others; manufacture of enamel ware: Kohler, 
Kieckhefer, and so on; in the manufacture of food products: Hecker 
(flour), Ziegler (Royal baking powder), Schumacher (rolled oats); 
sugar: Spreckels, Havemeyer; salt: Ruffner, Goessmann; starch: 
Piehl; chocolate: Hershey, Heide; canning and preserving industry: 
Heinz, Lutz and Schramm, Schimmel, Bosman and Lohman, and 
others; brewing: Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, Schlitz, Uihlein, Blatz, Seipp, 
Ruppert, Ehret, and so on; furniture: Herrmann, Wernicke; lithog- 
raphy: Prang, Bien, Hoen, Gugler, Ringler, wire manufacture; 
Roebling, Schoenberger. 

The Germans of Jewish extraction have been very prominent as 
bankers (Schifl, Warburg, Speyer, Goldman, Rosenwald, and others) . 
They have made certain lines of business their otvn, as clothing manu- 
facture and department stores. John Wanamaker, however, the orig- 
inal founder of the department store, was of Pennsylvania-German 


The Germans of the latter half of the nineteenth century produced 
many captains of industry: Frederick Weyerhaeuser, forest and 
lumber magnate; Henry Steinway, piano manufacturer; A. Schoell- 
kopf, tanner and leather manufacturer — his sons, leaders in hydraulic 
power and aniline colors; George C. Boldt, manager and proprietor 
of the Waldorf-Astoria and other hotels; Rudolph Blankenburg, im- 
porter, in municipal politics — “the War Horse of Reform.” A little 
later Ferdinand Thun, Henry Janssen, and Gustav Oberlaender made 
textile machinery and manufactures (Reading, Pennsylvania), and 
were outstanding also for their benefactions: the Wyomissing Founda- 
tion (humanitarian), the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation (cultural), 
and the Oberlaender Trust (cultural). 

All of these men, bom in Germany, were worthy successors, in 
industry and trade, of John Jacob Astor, born at Waldorf, near 
Heidelberg, who in the beginning of the nineteenth century laid the 
foundations of a great fortune by his monopoly of the fur trade. 

In the 'wars of the United States. Bancroft, the historian of the 
American Revolution, and Gould, the statistician of the Civil War, 
testified that the Germans volunteering in those wars exceeded in 
proportion that of the natives and all other foreign elements, a won- 
derful tribute to their loyalty and courage. 

At the very opening of the Revolutionary War, in 1776, the Con- 
tinental Congress established by vote a German regiment which was 
recruited in Pennsylvania and Maryland and which distinguished itself 
in the New Jersey campaigns and in Sullivan’s expedition against the 
Indians. Under General Greene were the two reliable German 
brigade commanders, Peter Muhlenberg and George Weedon 
(Wieden), whose regiments were composed mainly of German 
settlers in the Valley of Virginia and elsewhere. Other famous 
leaders in the Revolution were General John Kalb (Baron de Kalb), 
General Herkimer, and Inspector-General Frederick William Steuben 
(Baron Steuben), drillmaster of the American forces and identified 
with all American military interests, the planning of West Point, the 
fortification of New York City, and the writing and rewriting of the 
Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United 
States, commonly called Steuben^ s Manual, which remained the guide 
for American military discipline for more than a generation. On his 
statue, which stands in Lafayette Park across the street from the 
White House, is the inscription, “Erected by the Congress of the 
United States in grateful recognition of his services to the American 
people in their struggle for liberty.” 



Gould, in his general summary of enUsmients of the foreign element 
in the Civil War, gives the number of volunteers bom in Germany 
as 176,897; those in Ireland, 144,22 1, and in England, 45,508. When 
we remember that the number of persons of both sexes born in 
Germany and residing in the United States in i860 was only 1,276,075 
(about 72,000 lived in the South, but as many came to the United 
States during the war years to live in the North), and compare this 
figure with an enlistment of nearly 200,000 in the northern army, 
we realize that the percentage of Germans volunteering was one of 
the largest in history. The actual enlistment of the Germans was 
58,415 above that called for in proportion to population.^ 

No account has been taken above of men of German descent; 
among them were General Strieker, defender of Baltimore in the 
War of 1812; General Quitman, one of the principal fighting generals 
of the Mexican War; General Custer, the dashing cavalry leader of 
the Civil War and famous Indian fighter; and Admiral Schley, com- 
mander of the fleet that destroyed Cervera’s squadron in the Spanish 

A similar record of active participation of German Americans 
could be given for World Wars I and II, but space does not permit. 
It is sufficient to state that despite language and even blood ties, they 
have, with surprisingly few individual exceptions, been Americans 
rather than Germans. 

In politics. The common impression is that the influence of Ger- 
mans in this department has not been commensurate with their num- 
bers. Though this must be frankly admitted, their influence for good 
in American politics has been very much greater than is generally 
understood. The Germans never entered politics for a livelihood. 
In the history of the country, however, when there existed a real and 
important issue, the German voter did not shirk. He formed his 
own opinion about the situation and acted in accordance with it. As 
he did not want any public office or rewards for fidelity to any party, 
he voted independently. This was true even in the days of Benjamin 
Franklin, who, recognizing that he had lost control of the German 
vote, fell into a rage and condemned it as un-American. If the word 
hyphenates had been invented at that time, he would have found 
much satisfaction in using it. Independent voting, never popular 
with political leaders, has now become quite American and is the safe- 

^B. A. Gould, Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics 
of American Soldiers, p. 28, Table IV. New York: United States Sanitary Com- 
mission, 1869. 



guard of the people, though the despair of the professional politician. 

Outstanding was the position of the German element on the ques- 
tion of Negro slavery, which shook the nation to the depths. The 
earliest protest against Negro slavery in American history was that 
of the Germantown settlers of the year 1688. The document, still 
preserved, was drawn up in the handwriting of the German colony s 
leader, Franz Daniel Pastorius, signed by him and a group of repre- 
sentative German colonists, and addressed to the monthly meeting of 
the Quakers, who passed it on to their annual meeting for considera- 
tion. The German Salzburgers of Georgia, the Germans of the 
Valley of Virginia, and the Moravians of North Carolina ' resisted 
the keeping of Negro slaves as long as was possible. It was by no 
means an accident that the chairman of the congressional committee 
who drafted and put through the bill for the prevention of the im- 
portation of Negro slaves to the United States, after 1808, was a man 
of German parentage, Major George Michael Bedinger, the noted 
Kentucky hero of pioneer and Revolutionary fame. When the time 
came for the great struggle in 1856-1866, the large German element 
of the northern states stood solid against slavery, joined the new 
Republican Party, and contributed practically as a unit to the election 
of Lincoln.'* 

Why is Carl Schurz held in highest esteem by Americans of German 
lineage? He was a man of great positive achievements, yet he is 
admired just as much for what he tried but failed to accomplish. 
Carl Schurz was one of the greatest of the antislavery orators and was 
a strong force contributing to the Republican victory of i860. 
Lincoln appointed him minister to Spain in recognition of his serv- 
ices, but Schurz resigned at the outbreak of the war to join the Union 
Army. He distinguished himself as a commander in the Battle of 
Gettysburg and at Lookout Mountain. Immediately after the con- 
clusion of the war, he was sent to observe the condition of the South, 
and his report was a monumental document of contemporary history. 
Elected to the United States Senate by the state of Missouri, Schurz 
became noted as one of the Senate’s most brilliant and effective 
speakers, an uncompromising idealist, and a caustic critic. Chosen 

sSee Adelaide L. Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, in four 
volumes. Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards and Broughton Printing Company, 

*The growth of German sentiment in opposition to slavery and its influence in 
the election of Lincoln can be followed in detail in Volume IV of Hermann E. von 
Holst, The Constitutional and FoUtical History of the United States, Chicago: 
Callaghan and Company, 1877. 


by President Hayes as a member of his Cabinet, he, for the first time 
in American history, carried out the principles of civil service reform, 
for which he staked his political existence. While Secretary of the 
Interior, Schurz also set in motion other reforms: the preservation of 
forests and the better treatment of the Indians. Schurz was an inde- 
pendent in pohtics, sounded the note of political reform always, and 
remained true to his ideals in defeat. His retirement gave him oppor- 
tunity to write his fascinating memoirs, the life of Henry Clay, edi- 
torials for the Nev) York Evening Post, and many essays and addresses 
of historical importance. The memoirs, of Gustav Koemer, political 
leader of the Germans in lUinois, are also invaluable as source mate- 
rial for the background of the CivU War. 

Germans have been active in reform movements in American poli- 
tics, not alone in the civil service, but in party and municipal reform 
movements, peace congresses, and questions of sound money and per- 
sonal liberty. Francis Lieber was an authority on international law. 
Frederick W. Holls was secretary of the American delegation to the 
first Peace Congress at The Hague (1899). Congressman Richard 
Bartholdt was president of the American delegation at the second 
Congress in 1907. Some German reform mayors were: Charles 
Adolph Schieren (Brooklyn), Adolph H. J. Sutro (San Francisco), 
General John A. Wagener (Charleston), and Rudolph Blankenburg 

Educational influence. The highest and the lowest rung of the 
ladder in the American educational system, the university and the 
kindergarten, are German importations. These the native American 
brought over himself, just as he also reproduced the model of the 
EngHsh college. The secondary school felt a German influence when 
Horace Mann reported favorably on the Prussian school system 
(1843) and estabhshed the normal, or training, school for teachers. 
The kindergarten is the work of a German lover of children, Friedrich 
Frobel, who had both German (the first, the wife of Carl Schurz) 
and American disciples who introduced in the United States various 
types of kindergartens: private, those of the public schools in many 
parts of the country, and the charity kindergartens in the slums of big 
cities. In the department of higher education, the German influence 
was pre-eminent throughout the nineteenth century, beginning 
with George Ticknor and Edward Everett, who were students at 
Gottingen from 1815-1817. They were the pioneers in the great 
migration of American students to German universities, which, up 
to 1 860, included two hundred and twenty-five of the brightest young 



minds of the American states, among them George Bancroft, G. H. 
Calvert, Wilham Emerson (older brother of the poet), H. W. Long- 
fellow, J. L. Motley, B. L. Gildersleeve, Francis J. Child, E. T. Harris, 
G. M. Lane, W. D. Whitney, T. D. Woolsey, G. L. Prentiss, H. G. 
Smith, F. H. Hedge, W. C. King, B. A. Gould, George William 
Curtis, and Timothy Dwight. One hundred and thirty-seven of 
these pioneers of higher education became professors in American 
colleges, which were aglow with the new inspiration of scholarship. 
The migration did not stop with i860 but after the war continued 
throughout the nineteenth century, when Gottingen shared popularity 
with Heidelberg, Bonn, Berlin, Leipzig, and Munich. 

Postgraduate work — ^that is, the university proper — was estab- 
lished on American soil by the foundation of Johns Hopkins Uni- 
versity, in 1876, under the leadership of D. C. Gilman, who after a 
tour of Europe pronounced the German university system supreme. 
Every American university worthy of the name followed the lead of 
Johns Hopkins University. The graduate department has^ become 
the crown of the educational edifice. The state university idea, 
begun at Ann Arbor, Michigan, also sailed under the star of German 
influence. The book of the Frenchman, Victor Cousin, a report on 
the Prussian state school and university system, was accepted as a 
guide by the founders of the state school system of Michigan, 
which in turn became a standard for the state university system of 
other western states. Higher education in technical branches re- 
ceived a new start through the passage of the MoriU Bill (1862) and 
the founding of Cornell University in 1865, which, through its first 
president, Andrew D. White, gave German ideas an open door. 

Music. If the Germans had done nothing more than the culti- 
vation of music in America, their coming for this alone would be 
deserving of grateful record in American annals. During the eight- 
eenth century, the Puritans in New England and the Quakers of 
Pennsylvania checked the development of music. Contemporane- 
ously the German sectarians of Pennsylvania, though equally austere 
in their mode of life, fondly practiced the art of choral singing. The 
mixed choir of the brothers and sisters of Ephrata, near Lancaster, 
and the music schools of the Moravians at Bethlehem, invoked ad- 
miration and fostered the sacred flame. Philadelphia with its large 
German population early began the cultivation of music and gave the 
first ambitious program of classical music on May 4, 1786. Boston 
made a good move with the founding of the Handel and Haydn 
Society in 1815. Real progress was made by this association when 



in 1854 a professional conductor was called, the great German 
orchestral drill master, Carl Zerrahn. Gottlieb Graupner had earlier 
won the distinction of being the father of orchestral music in Boston. 
The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, started in 1820, was con- 
structed on a broader foundation than the earlier society in Boston. 
It admitted both sacred and secular programs, combined instrumental 
and vocal music at its concerts, founded a school, built a music hail, 
and gave assistance to needy musicians. Beethoven’s First Symphony 
was played by this organization probably for the first time in Amer- 
ica. New York began to show its mettle about the middle of the 
nineteenth century with the founding of the Philharmonic Society, 
and its rival, the famous Germania Orchestra (composed mainly of 
German refugees of the revolutionary period of 1848-1849), boldly 
began to make tours, giving during six years of its existence 829 con- 
certs in the leading cities of the East, West, and South (1848-1854). 
In 1881 was founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra with George 
Henschel (born in Breslau) as the first conductor, followed after 
three years by another German, Wilhelm Gericke. It was Gericke 
who, during successive periods of appointment, made the organiza- 
tion an instrument perfect of its kind, and he was followed by noted 
German conductors from Emil Paur to Karl Muck, while in New 
York the names of Anton Seidl and Leopold Damrosch (and his sons 
Frank and Walter) were famous. No individual had a greater in- 
fluence on the development of taste for orchestral music than had 
Theodore Thomas (bom in the Prussian province of Hannover, 
1835), who, after a successful career in New York and Cincinnati, 
established his own orchestra in Chicago. 

In opera and in other vocal music the efforts of the German leaders 
and the Mannerchore throughout the country must not be over- 
looked, nor the influence of music schools established by Germans. 
Historically the humble German music master labored with unflinch- 
ing fidelity, without the hope of name or fame, at the task of intro- 
ducing music into the American home. The radio has supplanted 
the music master, but it is creditable to American taste, and a develop- 
ment attributable largely to German influence, that the most popular 
radio hours are those devoted to orchestral music performances, ac- 
cording to statistics gathered from all over the country. 

Fine arts. Twice in the history of American painting was there a 
German influence, the first time through the Diisseldorf school in the 
1840’s, and again about fifty years later, through the Munich artists. 
To the first school belonged Emanuel Leutze, best knovm for his 



large historical picture “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” which 
hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Albert Bierstadt intro- 
duced the Diisseldorfian manner in landscape painting on large can- 
vases — for example, “Storm in the Rockies,” “Mount Corcoran” 
(Sierra Nevada), “The Yosemite Valley,” and so on. The later 
Munich influence was illustrated by Carl Marr (bom in Milwaukee) , 
professor at the Munich Academy, and Gari Melchers (bom in 
Detroit), professor at the Hochschule f. bildende Kunst at Weimar, 
both widely recognized, and C. Schreyvogel (born in New York), 
a painter of Wild West scenes. 

In sculpture there were strong influences on the development of 
the American art by Charles H. Niehaus, Frederic W. Ruckstuhl, 
Albert Jaegers (Steuben and Pastorius monuments), Hans Schuler, 
and many others. 

A form of art that was practiced brilliantly by Germans was that of 
the caricature, resulting in the establishment of comic papers such as 
Puck, which was founded by Keppler and Schwarzmann (1876- 
1877). “Zim (Zimmermann) drew for Judge-, “Hy Mayer” for Life; 
“Bunny” (C. E. Schultze) invented the “Foxy Grandpa” series. But 
the first great caricaturist in American history was Thomas Nast 
(bom in 1840, in Landau, Palatinate), of whom President Lincoln 
said: “Thomas Nast has been our best recraiting sergeant,” showing 
how deeply Nast could influence public opinion and stir emotion. 
He was one of the most active forces in the destruction of the cormpt 
Tweed Ring in New York City. His cartoons of the Republican ele- 
phant, the Democratic donkey, the Tammany tiger, Santa Claus, 
and so on, are immortal productions. 

Religion. The Germans founded three major churches in Amer- 
ica early in the eighteenth century: the Lutheran, united by the 
patriarchal Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg; the German Reformed, 
first organized by Michael Schlatter; and the Unitas Fratmm (United 
Brethren or Moravian), established under Count Zinzendorf and his 
son-in-law David Nitschmann at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1741. 
The Moravians were the most successful Indian missionaries (Post, 
Heckewelder, Zeisberger) in American history, and were noted for 
their schools. Practically all the sectarians of Germany came to 
America, mostly to the land of promise, Pennsylvania. The Men- 
nonites and Amish, Schwenkfelders, Tunkers (German Baptists, also 
called “plain people” and, improperly, Dunkards), and others enjoyed 
freedom of worship in the land of Penn, and these religious sects 
have survived to the present day. German Catholics came in large 



numbers during the nineteenth century and formed a strong organ- 
ization. Johann Martin Henni was the first bishop of Milwaukee in 
1844 and the great pioneer in the Northwest (created archbishop in 
1875). Henry Boehm (1773-1875, bom in Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania), at first associated with Asbury on his missionary tours, was 
the apostle of German Methodism, preaching mainly in German and 
gaining a large following and church membership in many parts of 
the country, especially among German settlers. He was for seventy- 
five years an itinerant preacher, and at the time of his death was 
the oldest Methodist preacher in the United States. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

The earliest Swiss emigration to the United States can be traced 
indirectly to the Swiss mercenary soldiers serving under Ferdinand 
and Isabella of Spain. After their return home, they disseminated 
news of the epoch-making discovery by Christopher Columbus with 
such enthusiasm that many courageous Svidss adventurers resolved to 
try their luck in the promised land across the Atlantic. The first 
historical record of a Swiss in America is that of Diebold von Erlach, 
a mercenary soldier (or officer, judging from his noble title), who 
died in the service of Spain in Florida in 1562. Although to the 
end of the sixteenth century there is record of relatively few Swiss 
in the new world, with the beginning of the seventeenth century their 
immigration is more numerous. Among the earliest settlers of James- 
town, Virginia, several Swiss names are found. 

First Swiss settlement. The first distinctly Swiss settlement is 
reported to have been established in 1670 near Charleston, South 
Carolina, under the guidance of the Genevese, Carteret. As a rule, 
wherever German immigration took place in earlier centuries, Swiss 
were to be found in the group. Thus, in 1683, the name of George 
Wertmuller, a Swiss, is recorded in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 
simultaneously with the founding of New Bern, North Carolina, by 
Christopher de Graffenried. 

In the second half of the seventeenth century, many people left 
the canton of Bern and journeyed northward into foreign parts. 
Many who went to Alsace, the Palatinate, and other parts of Germany 
may later have journeyed to America. The revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes by King Louis XIV of France, in 1685, induced many 
Swiss, particularly of Geneva and Neuchatel, to join the Huguenots 


1 14 

of France, their religious brethren across the border, in emigration to 
America. These groups settled mostly in the Carolinas. 

From their first appearance in Switzerland in the early decades of 
the sixteenth century, the Mennonites had been the victims of syste- 
matic persecution on the part of their Reformed brethren. From 
time to time single families and individuals fled to the Palatinate, and 
eventually large numbers of them decided to join their Swiss brethren 
in the movement that resulted in settling on the Pequea in Lancaster 
County, Pennsylvania. In 1706—1707 a number of persecuted Swiss 
Mennonites went to England. Queen Anne sent some of them to 
Ireland, but most of them went to the American plantations. After 
1710 considerable numbers of Swiss Mennonites reached Pennsyl- 
vania and the Carolinas. In 173^’ Purysburg, South Carolina, was 
founded, against the opposition of the Swiss authorities, who now 
feared an exodus of their people. At first the Swiss officials had 
tried to get rid of a pauper element, the homeless Landsassen — squat- 
ters, not citizens — and the sectarian class. Baptists, Anabaptists, or 
Mennonites ( Wiedertaujer, Taufer) . These were a source of danger 
to both church and state because of their refusal to bear arms or hold 
ofiice, their simplicity of worship, and their communistic tendencies. 
But soon the ofiicials began to see the danger in continued emigration. 
In 1719, Fr anz Anton Karren of Solothum, against the will of the 
Swiss Diet, organized a Stviss regiment for French expeditionary 
services in the new world. Karren’s soldiers fought against the British 
in Louisiana in the French and Indian War. 

Social and economic conditions favored an increase in emigration 
in the thirties and forties of the eighteenth century. Young Swiss 
noblemen still continued selling themselves and their soldiers to 
foreign war lords. There were periodic failures of crops, because 
of hailstorms and floods. The high tide of emigration came in 1734 
and 1744, and the emigration fever gave visible signs of becoming 
an epidemic. The “rabies Carolinae” reached the critical stage in 
1734-1750; it affected most of the populous Protestant cantons of 
Bern, Zurich, and Basel. Decrees against emigration were issued 
with ever-increasing severity, but the periodic tides of emigration 
could not be controlled. Overpopulation, coupled with bad eco- 
nomic conditions, compelled it. Furthermore, letters, numerous 
books, and pamphlets, descriptive of the American colonies, did the 
rest. During that century many Swiss Mennonites settled in Penn- 
sylvania. A large proportion of the Pennsylvania German Mennon- 
ites are descendants of Germans and Swiss from the Rhineland.: 



From their original settlements in Pennsylvania they have since 
spread to western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, farther west, 
and Canada. It is of interest that these early settlers often found 
that their nonresistant principles served as a better protection against 
the Indians than did rifles and stockades. There are few records of 
injury of any kind inflicted upon them by the Indian tribes. It is 
also interesting that some of the Russian Mennonites who emigrated 
to America to escape military service in Russia are of Swiss origin. 

The American immigration statistics long confused Swiss with 
Germans and French. Professor Faust estimates that some 12,000 
Swiss landed in America between 1734—1744, and some 25,000 in the 
whole century. The nineteenth century movements fluctuated. Be- 
ginning with over 6,000 in 1 800, immigration reached a crest of 12,751 
in 1883, and from 1880-1886, over 61,000 Swiss arrived in the United 
States. The immigration consisted of the farming element, attracted 
by cheap land in America, and of skilled workers and technical experts 
in industry. In 1940, there were 88,293 foreign-born Swiss in the 
United States and 77,880 second generation. Swiss descendants can 
be found in all parts of America. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Any large aggregation of Swiss people is not caused by a tendency 
to colonize for nationalistic reasons but by employment in some one 
industry of which a particular locale is the center. Swiss are pre- 
eminent in the following trades and industries; hotel and restaurant, 
dairy and cheese, silk, jewelry and watches, grape wine, poultry, and 
embroideries and laces. The traditional excellence of Swiss watches 
explains the large number of Swiss engaged in the jewelry, watch, 
and clock trades. But it is in the silk industry that they have attained 
the higher importance, and their holdings are rated in the millions. 
In addition, the Swiss are especially proud of their technical experts, 
who are usually graduates of the famous Polytechnicum at Zurich 
where the celebrated scientist, Albert Einstein, a naturalized Swiss 
citizen, was a student and later a professor. 

In language, the Swiss in the United States are divided principally 
into three linguistic groups: the German -Swiss, the French Swiss, 
and the Italian Swiss. The German Swiss constitute four fifths of 
the total. Of the remaining fifth, the French ’Swiss are somewhat 
a majority, and the rest are composed of Italian Swiss and Romans 
from the Grisons. 

Many of the Swiss are Mennonites. This group, who are usually 


1 16 

farmers, are settled in all parts of Pennsylvania, but Lancaster County 
is their chief center. In general, many have retained the manners and 
customs of their forefathers. Many still dress in quaint garb, the 
women wearing caps even at their housework. They worship in 
plain meetinghouses, choose their ministers by lot, and will not take 
oath or bear arms. Some Swiss, of course, join other American 
churches, including Lutheran, Calvinist, and Catholic, but predomi- 
nantly Zwinglian. 

Periodicals. Although united as a nation under a republic and a 
democratic government that have won the admiration of many 
political observers, the Swiss to some extent remain socially apart in 
America, a fact conditioned by their dependence on different lan- 
guages. This fact is reflected in their newspapers. The Ameri- 
kanische Schiveizerzeitung, the foremost Swiss newspaper in America, 
published since 1868 in German by the Swiss Publishing Company of 
New York, is a weekly comprising eight pages and is circulated 
throughout America. The Colonia Svizzera of San Francisco, Cali- 
fornia, is an eight-page weekly newspaper for the Italo-Swiss on the 
Pacific coast. The Sch'weizer-Journal of the same city is a six-page 
weekly in German. The ofiicial organ of the North American 
Schweizer Bund, St. Louis, Missouri, is Der Schweizer, a monthly. 
In the eastern states, the French Swiss read the Courrier des Etats 
Unis, a weekly of New York City. The list would not be complete 
without mention of the Green County Herald, Monroe, Wisconsin, 
and the Swiss American News, of Detroit. 

Organizations. Like other immigrant groups, the Swiss have nu- 
merous social, benevolent, and other organizations. The most im- 
portant of these is the Nordamerikanische Schweizer Bund, with a 
membership of about 8,000 and some 88 local branches, which has its 
headquarters in St. Louis. The Helvetia Association of North Amer- 
ica (Swiss Hotel Employees Mutual Benefit Society), the Nord 
Amerikanischer Saengerhund (North American Singers Union) , and 
the Swiss American Historical Society are other organizations na- 
tional in scope. The Helvetia Mdnnerchor, a singing society, was 
organized as early as 1858. In addition, the Swiss and their descend- 
ants have some three hundred local organizations in the form of social 
clubs, benevolent societies, singing societies, gymnastic and rifle clubs, 
as well as music bands, in the various communities where their popu- 
lation is large. We thus hear of the United Swiss Society of New 
York, the Societa Ticinese of Paterson, New Jersey, the Chicago 
Svidss Society, the San Francisco Helvetia Society, the Swiss Benevo- 



lent Society of Washington, D. C., the Swiss Mercantile Society of 
New York, the Swiss Harmony of Hudson County (New Jersey 
male chorus), and others. 

The Swiss societies of all four languages, German, French, Italian, 
and Romansch, usually join in celebrating the Swiss Independence 
Day, in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of the 
three forest cantons (August, 1291). This occasion is marked by 
speeches, picnics, outings, and amusements of various sorts. 

Several charitable organizations have been formed, including the 
Swiss Charitable Institution, organized by the Swiss residents in 
New York as early as 1832; the Swiss Benevolent Society of the City 
of New York; and the New York Swiss Club. On October 17, 
1883, the Swiss Home on Second Avenue was opened. 

In spite of the numerous Swiss organizations in America, it is 
claimed by well-informed Swiss-American authorities that the Swiss 
are perhaps more readily and rapidly assimilated into Aunerican life, 
thought, and ideals than is any other immigrant group. This may 
be true because of the traditions and experiences of democracy and 
republicanism in their homeland and the lack of any powerful 
memories of recent political, social, and religious struggles and con- 
flicts which, otherwise, would have left them with a tendency to 
retain their old-country attitudes. 

Contributions to American Life 

To write in full the biographies of the outstanding Americans of 
Swiss origin would be to describe their part in the history of the 
United States from its very beginning. We intimated this in the 
first paragraph of this section. It might be noted also that in the 
pre-Revolutionary period, among the British colonial troops, several 
Swiss took prominent roles, as, for example, the generals Haldimand, 
Prevost, Bouquet, de Meuron, Karren, and others. Bouquet, com- 
mander-in-chief of the British forces on the southern front, conquered 
Florida and became its governor-general; Augustin Prevost became 
governor of Georgia. 

As Switzerland possesses no distinct national culture and no national 
language of its own, but is culturally and linguistically divided into 
German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romansch sections, it was 
natural that the Swiss immigrants were generally better known to their 
neighbors as Germans, Frenchmen, and Italians rather than as Swiss. 
Consequently, the general American public knows relatively little 
of the important contributions which the Swiss have made to the 



building of this great American nation. Numerous, indeed, are the 
geographical names of cities, towns, counties, rivers, and mountains 
in the United States that testify to the constructive influence of the 
industrious element that came from the old Alpine Repubhc of 

The most prominent figure of the long list of outstanding Swiss in 
America is Albert Gallatin, who, as legislator, secretary of the United 
States Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison, diplomat, 
and scientist, was in his time considered the most distinguished of all 
foreign-born Americans. In his old age he fathered the American 
Ethnological Society and New York University. Summing up his 
career as a Jeffersonian party man, Henry Adams said: “That a young 
foreigner, speaking with a foreign accent, laboring under all the 
odium of the western insurrection (the Whiskey Rebellion), sur- 
rounded by friendly rivals . . . should have at once seized the leader- 
ship of his party and retained it . . . down to the last moment of his 
service, and that he should have done so by sheer force of ability and 
character, without ostentation and without tricks . . . made a curious 
combination of triumphs. . . . His power lay in courage, honesty 
of purpose, and thoroughness of study. . . .” 

Among other descendants of Swiss origin who made a success of 
their political careers mention should be made of Attorney General 
William Wirt, Emmanuel Philipp, governor of Wisconsin, and 
Colonel Good, war secretary to President Hoover. It would lead too 
far to enumerate the long list of Congress members, and the like. 
Note should be made of such names as Henry Rosenberg, of Claris, 
at Galveston (Texas) and of George Hermann, of the Grisons, at 
Houston (Texas), whose extraordinary luck was completely eclipsed 
by General John August Sutter’s magnificent adventure. Sutter 
was the founder of New Helvetia (now Sacramento, California), the 
colonizer ruined by the gold of North California, who placed this 
territory under the sovereignty of the United States. Jules Sandoz 
(“Old Jules”), the eccentric trapper, surveyor and nurseryman of 
Niobrara, was in all probabihty one of the last of the old Swiss settlers 
in the United States. 

Apart from these pioneers, who, as real old Swiss, loved a scrap 
with the Red Indians, Switzerland provided the United States with 
a series of officers of outstanding valor: the colonels Henry Bouquet, 
hero of Bushy Run (Fort Pitt), and Christian Gratiot, the builder of 
Fort Monroe; General Chatelain (Chetlain), who distinguished him- 
self first in the Black Hawk War and later in the Civil War, together 



with his compatriots Gene als Naegeli (Negley), Lieb, ZoUikofer and 
Ammann; not to mention the numerous colonels commanding entirely 
Swiss forces. After Vice-Admiral Ammann, commanding the navy 
under President Grant, other “Swiss admirals,” such as Edward W. 
Eberle and R. de Steiguer, have sailed the seas in our own times. 

Among industrialists and engineers, the following are selected as 
representative: the Chevalleys and Meyenbergs (condensed milk); 
Hersche (Hershey, chocolate); the Hubers and Schwarzenbachs 
(silk); the WartenweUers (silver and copper mines); Berner (rail- 
roads); Weber (window-frame maker); the churchbuilder Heer; 
the famous engineers Noetzli, Sonderegger, and O. H. Ammann, all 
of whom had studied in Switzerland; the ingenious mechanic John 
Krusi, who carried out many of Edison’s ideas; and the film producer 
WilHam Wyler. 

A large number of churchmen have come from Switzerland at all 
times. In the eighteenth century, Michael Schlatter and John Zublin 
were founders and organizers of the Protestant Church in America. 
In the nineteenth century Philipp Schaff was the most important theo- 
logian in the United States. Among Catholics were Father Kundig, 
the heroic fighter of cholera at Detroit (1843), and the two Mil- 
waukee bishops, Mgrs. Henni and Messmer. 

Famous doctors of Swiss origin may be enumerated by the dozen. 
Dr. Henry Banga was the first to introduce antiseptic surgery to the 
United States. Dr. Nicolas Senn, the brilliant professor of medicine 
at Chicago, was chief surgeon to the expeditionary corps sent to Cuba. 
His pupils of Swiss origin. Doctors Albrecht, Ochsner, and Holhger 
must stiU be considered as being in a class of their own, and to those 
may be added Doctors Dettwyler, Stamm, Nickles, and Steinach. 
Dr. Carl Voegtlin directed the National Cancer Institute until 1943. 
The nineteenth cdntury saw the arrival of a series of noteworthy 
natural scientists, the Agassiz, Guyots, Lesquereux and Pourtales, all 
from Neuchatel, whereas the great specialists in Indian ethnology, 
Albert Gatschet and Adolphe Bandelier, came from Berne University. 
Dr. Walter C. Reusser is head of the department of educational ad- 
ministration at the University of Wyoming. 

The Ritz-Delmonico-Tschirggi (Tschirky) trio recalls the fact that 
the well-known Stviss talent for the hotel industry asserted itself in 
America, as it did elsewhere. In particular, Oscar of the Waldorf 
(Oscar Tschirky) was in 1944 one of the noble landmarks of New 


"'Neiv” Immigration: Slavic States 

Yaroslav J. Chyz and Joseph S. Roucek 

T he term “Russian American” is used in this section to designate 
immigrants and their descendants of real Russian (Great Russian) 
or White Russian stock. The activities of Russian Jews and of 
Russophile Ukrainians (some of whom call themselves Russians, Little 
Russians, Carpatho-Russians or South Russians) are included only, in 
cases when they are closely associated with Russian group life. No 
distinction is made between the Russian proper and the White Russian 


Western immigration. The Russians arrived in America from the 
west and from the east. The first Russians to land on American 
shores were probably the group of ten sailors sent out from the ship 
Saint Pavel which explored the northwestern section of the American 
continent under the leadership of Captain Alexei Chirikoff in 1741. 
The landing party never returned to the ship, nor did another detach- 
ment of six sailors sent in search of the first group. Another landing 
was made the same year and month (July) from the ship Saint Peter 
under the command of Captain Vitus Bering, a Dane, who shared 
with Chirikoff the command of that first Russian expedition to 
America. The islands of Kayak, Kodiak, and others were discovered 
on that voyage. 

For fifty years after the discoveries by Chirikoff and Bering, the 
Aleutian Islands and the adjoining shore of Alaska were the hunting 
grounds of Russian adventurers (promyshlenniki), who banded to- 
gether in expeditions to haul the sea otter and other fur-bearing ani- 
mals. The untold cruelties that they inflicted upon the natives were 
the cause of many bloody uprisings and massacres by the natives. 

In 1785, the first attempt to found a permanent colony on the 



island of Kodiak was made by a Russian merchant, Grigor I. Shelikov. 
In 1794, the first vessel was launched in northwestern America in 
the Voskressenski harbor. The following year the first Russian 
Orthodox Church on the American continent was built at Saint Paul, 
Alaska. In 1804, Sitka was founded by Alexander Baranov (1747- 
1819), the chief resident administrator of the Russian- American Com- 
pany, a semi-official corporation entrusted by the Russian government 
with the trade and regulation of that colony. The company was in 
charge of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands until 1861. Six years later, 
the Alaskan possession was sold to the United States for $7,200,000. 

Out of Alaska the Russians sent a handful of colonists and native 
Aleuts to the region of Bodega Bay in Cahfornia. They founded 
there a colony that survived for almost thirty years (1812-1841). 
The Mexican government did not confirm the right of Russians to 
settle on its territory, and the colony was sold in 1841 to a Mexican 
citizen of Swiss descent, John A. Sutter. Through various transac- 
tions, the site of the colony, which became known as Fort Ross, be- 
came the property of W. R. Hearst and was donated by him to the 
state of California. It is now maintained as a state park with a few 
buildings and the old church stiU standing. 

In 1840 the churches and chapels maintained by the Russian 
Orthodox Mission were organized into a separate diocese, which in 
1861 consisted of 7 churches and 35 chapels. Later this Alaskan- 
Aleutian Diocese was extended over the whole of North America. 
The present Metropolitans of the Russian Orthodox Church in North 
America are considered successors of the monk loannes (Innocentius) 
Veniaminof, who was for years a missionary among the natives of 
Alaska and who in 1 840 was appointed, under the name of Innokenty, 
as the first bishop of the new Diocese. 

The main impress left by more than 125 years of Russian occupation 
of Alaska is today a number of Russian Orthodox parishes and chapels 
attending to the spiritual needs of the natives, half-breeds, and a few 
descendants of Russian colonists who chose to remain in Alaska and 
its adjoining islands. 

At the time when exiles and convicts were transported from Siberia 
into the domain of the Russian-American Company, some of them 
found a way to escape from there to Cahfornia, and thence east to 
adjoining regions, especially the Indian Territory, which later became 
the state of Oklahoma. In fact, the infiltration of Russians from the 
west into the United States was constant; although for a long time 
in small numbers. It consisted mainly of pohtical refugees, who tried 



several times to band into societies. Finally the colonies in California, 
especially San Francisco, grew to a considerable size, especially after 
the transfer of the See of the Aleutian-Alaska Diocese to that city 
in 1871. 

Eastern hmnigratwn. The beginnings of Russian immigration 
through the ports of the eastern part of America fall in the decade 
between 1871 and 1880. Up to 1870 the American immigration 
authorities had listed (for the years 1820-1870) only 3,886 immigrants 
from Russia. However, the decade of 1871-1880 shows 39,284 
persons who came to the United States from Russia. How many of 
them were Russians and how many Russian Jews, Ukrainians, Lithu- 
anians, Latvians, Estonians, Finns, German Mennonites, and others 
cannot be ascertained. The fact is that Russian immigration up to 
1905 had been chiefly non-Russian; the Slavs from Russia, the Great 
Russians, Little Russians, and White Russians, did not emigrate in 
large numbers until after the revolution of 1905. American statistics 
do not distinguish between Great, White, and Little Russians, but 
there is reason to suppose that Great Russians predominated in the 
Russian emigration up to 1905, while after that year Ukrainians and 
White Russians emigrated in large numbers. 

The first known Russian immigrant to the eastern part of North 
America was Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, son of the Russian 
ambassador to Holland, at the end of the eighteenth century. He 
embraced the Roman Catholic faith and came to Maryland on October 
28, 1792. He became the first CathoHc priest ordained in America 
and worked as missionary first in Maryland and then in Pennsylvania. 
Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, is named for him, and there is a monument 
to his memory in Loretto, Pennsylvania, with a bronze statue given by 
Charles M. Schwab, the great steel magnate. Otherwise, little is 
known about the Russians who lived in the eastern sections of the 
United States before 1870. Prominent among political emigres in 
the seventies and eighties was Vladimir A. Stolishnikoff, former con- 
federate of the well-known Russian revolutionaries Tkacheff and 
Nechayeff. He was for some time the leader of the Russian progres- 
sive colony in New York and made a name for himself as one of the 
architects who designed plans for the building of the famous Carnegie 
Hall in New York City. Serge E. Shevich was one of the founders 
of the American Socialist Party. Peter A. DemyanoflF (Peter 
Tverskoy, Captain Peter Demens) succeeded as an American business- 
man, colonizer, and railroad builder. He founded the city of St. 
Petersburg in Florida. 



Political and religious persecution was the primary cause of mass 
emigration from Russia. However, coupled with the religious and 
political persecution, the economic conditions, mainly in the north- 
western Russian provinces, caused the departure of many poor 
peasants. A great mass of landless laborers emigrated to improve their 

The years of the first World War stopped the influx of immigrants 
from Russia almost entirely. The Russian Revolution and the subse- 
quent establishment of the Soviet regime forced many Russians of the 
old regime to seek refuge in the United States. In contrast to the 
mass of prewar immigrants, the majority of these refugees belong to 
the intelHgentsia, and therefore their presence in the United States 
became more noticeable than that of hundreds of thousands of agri- 
cultural and industrial workers, who for almost half a century had 
contributed to America’s greatness by the sweat of their brows. 

All authorities agree that, because of the complexity of the United 
States immigration and census statistics regarding Russia, it is im- 
possible to arrive at the correct number of Russians and their descend- 
ants in America. Accordmgtothe 1940 United States census, 585,080 
persons registered their “mother tongue” as Russian. After sub- 
tracting Russian-speaking Jews, Ukrainians, Georgians, and other im- 
migrants from Russia and their descendants, as well as Russophile 
Ukrainians and Carpatho-Russians from Gahcia, Bukowina, and 
Carpatho-Ukraine, who registered their language as Russian or 
“Rusin,” the actual figure for immigrants from Russia proper and 
White Russia and their descendants probably will not exceed 250,000. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Religion. The largest number of Russian Americans belong to 
the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1876 the first Russian Orthodox 
parish was organized in New York. Later the Russian Orthodox 
Mission started proselyting among the Greek-Catholic Ukrainians 
from Galicia and the northern part of Hungary; it was chiefly because 
of the influence of that church that a part of the Ukrainian immigrants 
in America still call themselves Russians. By 1944, some 80 per cent 
of the membership of the Russian Orthodox Church consisted of 
former Ukrainian Greek Catholics or Orthodox Ukrainians and their 
descendants from the territories of the former Russian Empire. In 
1936 this organization reported 229 churches and local organizations 
with 89,510 members. 

A large number of Russian immigrants belong to various Protestant 



denominations. The most numerous is the group of the so-called 
Molokms. Persecuted by the Russian government for their refusal 
to conform to the dogmas and rites of the Orthodox Church, the 
believers in the “milk of word” (milk in Russian — moloko), number- 
ing several thousands, settled in 1903-1906 in Los Angeles, San 
Francisco, and other California towns. The members of another 
Russian sect, the Doukhobors (Spirit-Wrestlers) emigrated at the 
end of the nineteenth century to Canada, and many drifted in the 
following years to Los Angeles and San Diego, California, and to 
Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and to other cities. The Russian 
weekly of Chicago, Rassvyet, used to have a special page for the 
members of this sect. The Doukhobors tend to settle on farms. The 
“Old Believers” settled in the vicinity of Pittsburgh (town of Essen) . 

The largest number of Russians reside in Permsylvania, with fairly 
large groups in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and 
Alaska; lesser groups reside in many other states exclusive of the 
southeastern section of the United States. 

Occupations. Most of the prewar immigrants were peasants. But 
only the sectarian settlements of Molokans and Doukhobors have suc- 
ceeded in maintaining their fa^g colonies to a considerable extent. 
Others farm either singly or in small groups attached to towns and 
boroughs in South Dakota, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, 
New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In many 
of these settlements they live side by side with Ukrainian immigrants, 
and sometimes with Polish farmers. In 1940, over 33,000 persons 
who registered their “mother tongue” as Russian were found living 
and working on farms. The majority of the Russians, however, are 
occupied in American industries in large cities such as New York, 
Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Gary, and so on. Many of them 
are employed in coal mines and steel works in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and 
West Virginia. There are numerous Russian fruitgrowers in Florida 
and California. Lumber areas of Washington and Michigan, fisheries 
on the Pacific coast, and such industries as tailoring, house-wrecking, 
and restaurant work have their share of Russian labor. Many of the 
postwar immigrants have risen to desirable high social positions. 

Organizations. Of all Slavic immigrants, the Russians have shown 
the least inclination for organized social life. A great majority of their 
associations have been short-lived. The oldest Russian society in 
America, the Association of Decembrists (so narned in memory of the 
fiirst liberal Russian uprising in December, 1825) was founded in 1867 
by A. Honcharenko, a Ukrainian priest, in San Francisco. Another 



short-lived society, the Russian Circle of Mutual Aid, was founded 
in New York in March, 1872. In the eighties, many societies were 
founded by Russians and Russian Jews in New York, chiefly for the 
purpose of helping new immigrants. Out of the Russian Social- 
Democratic Society, founded in New York in 1891, grew the Russian 
Federation of the Socialist Party of America, which had forty 
branches in 1918; the radical faction of it became the Russian sec- 
tion of the Communist Party. The Federation of Russian Work- 
ers, an anarchist association, had in 1918 fourteen branches in nine 
eastern states and among the lumberjacks in Oregon. In 1926 the 
Russian Consolidated Mumal Aid Society (known as the Roova) 
was founded; it conducts a school for children, owns a building in 
New York City, and promotes a Russian farm settlement near Cass- 
ville. New Jersey. There are two other Russian fraternal associa- 
tions, the American Russian Fraternal Society, Section of the Inter- 
national Workers Order, and the Russian Independent Mutual Aid 
Society of Chicago. On January i, 1944, there were 2 1,248 members 
in these three associations, organized in some 150 local branches. 
The organizations of immigrants who arrived in the United States 
after World War I, and who were predominantly refugees from the 
Soviet regime, can be divided into two groups: those trying to pre- 
serve the memories of the prerevolutionary Russia (the Society of the 
Russian Imperial Guard, the Russian Navy OfEcers’ Group, the St. 
Andrew’s Cross Society); and those aiming to promote their occu- 
pational interests (the Russian Physicians’ Society, the Society of 
Friends of Russian Culture, the Union of Russian Painters and Artists, 
the Russian Lawyers’ Association, the Fund for the Relief of Men 
of Letters and Scientists). 

The press. The first Russian newspaper in America was the semi- 
monthly Alaska Herald, published by Reverend Ahapiy Honcharenko 
in San Francisco in 1868-1869 in Russian and in English, Mr. 
Villchur lists in his Russians in America thirty-four publications for 
the period from 1910-1918, but only a few of them stiU exist. Today 
five dailies and fourteen weeklies, semimonthlies, monthlies, and 
quarterhes are published, some of them on a very high level, with 
excellent analyses of current events and of contemjporary Russian liter- 

Contributions to American Life 

Together with Americans and other immigrant workers, the Russian 
immigrants have helped to build this country. Russian and Ukrainian 



farmers, furthermore, brought with them numerous varieties of seeds 
which proved very suitable to American climate and soil and which 
are now widely used by American agriculturalists; “beardless Fife,” 
“Kubanka,” “Crimean,” Amautka,” “Kharkov,” “Malakhoff,” and 
other kinds of wheat are used extensively in agricultural middle 
western states. Kherson oats are now planted in Iowa, Illinois, 
Kansas, Nebraska, and the southern part of Wisconsin. Rye, buck- 
wheat, alfalfa, sunflowers, millet, and other seeds found their way 
from Russian Ukraine, the Volga and Kuban regions, and from 
Turkestan to the American prairies of the Middle West, brought by 
Russian Molokans and Doukhobors, German Mennonites, and 
Ukrainian “Shtoondisty.” 

Russian contributions to the American cultural and spiritual life 
are twofold. Some of them may be considered of an international 
character and would have been made without the arrival of Russian 
immigrants in the United States. The music of Tschaikovsky and 
Glinka, the works of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Chekhov, 
the scientific contributions of Mechnikoff, Mendeleyeff, and Pavlov 
would have found their way into American cultural life regardless of 
Russian immigration. The same can be said of the dancers Pavlova, 
Nijinsky, and Fokine, the siugers Chaliapin and Lipkovskaya, the 
actors Nazimova, Baklanova, and Balieff, and scores of others who 
have influenced American art. 

On the other hand, the direct influence of Russian immigration 
cannot be overlooked. The progressive movement in the United 
States, especially its socialist wing, was to a large degree stimulated 
in the last two decades of the nineteenth century by political emigres 
from Russia, such as Serge Shevich, one of the founders of the Social- 
ist Labor Party, Leo Hartman, and Maurice Hillquit. Later, 
Leon Trotsky, Nicholas Bukharin, and others laid the foundations 
for the communist movement in America. Whether or not this 
is a contribution depends on the reader’s political and social 

The persecution by the former Czarist and the present Soviet 
governments is largely responsible for an extraordinarily large number 
of Ru^an scientists and thinkers in America, now on the faculties of 
many of our universities. Possibly the most outstanding are: M. T. 
Florinsky, economics, Columbia University; Alexander Petrunkevich, 
zoology, G. V. Vernadsky, and Michael Rostovtzeff, history, Yale 
University; Michael Karpovich, history, and S. Menkin, physiology. 
Harvard University; Paul Studenski, public finance. New York Uni- 



versity; Alexander A. Vasilieff, ancient history, University of Wis- 
consin; Stephen P. Timoshenko, architectural mechanics, Cornell Uni- 
versity; and Andrew Avinoff, director of the Carnegie Museum and 
professor of zoology. University of Pittsburgh. Professor Pitirim A. 
Sorokin, head of the sociology department of Harvard University, is 
the author of a number of outstanding works in sociology; his Con- 
temporary Sociological Theories and Social a?id Cultural Dynamics 
are classics in their fields. 

Igor Sikorsky, one of the foremost aeroplane builders in the world, 
has built with his staff of several Russian engineers some of the 
sturdiest types of aeroplanes used in American civil and military 
aerial transportation. Boris V. Sergievsky, a flier and co-worker of 
Sikorsky, has established several flying records for various types of 
aeroplanes. Alexander de Seversky’s books, articles, lectures, and 
radio talks contributed greatly to the awakening of military and 
civilian “airmindedness” in America. 

In the music and art of America, Russian names abound. One need 
only mention Sergei Rachmaninoff, pianist and composer, Ossip 
Gabrilowitch, composer, Alexander Zilotti, conductor and composer, 
Feodore Chaliapin, basso, Maria Kurenko, soprano, and numerous 
others. In films, Nazimova, Baklanova, Ouspenskaya, Akim Tamirov, 
Gregory Ratoff , Mischa Auer, and, on the stage, Eugenie Leontovitch, 
made names for themselves. Nicholas Roerich is the famed founder 
of the Roerich Museum in New York City. 

Yaroslav J. Chyz and Joseph S. Roucek 

Ukrainian immigrants and their descendants are knovra in the 
United States under several names. The United States census of 
ipro and 1920 listed them as “Ruthenians,” in 1930 as “Ukrainians” 
and “Ruthenians,” and in 1940 as “Ukrainians.” The United States 
Bureau of Immigration registered them as “Ruthenians (Russniaks)” 
and lately as “Ukrainians.” Some writers follow the old Czarist 
terminology and call them “Little Russians.” Certain subdivisions 
of the group insist on being called “Carpatho-Russians,” “Rusins,” 
or “Russians.” 

Despite the varied names, they belong to the same ethnic group and 
come from the same country where, according to the Encyclopedia 
Americana, “from the Vislok to the Kuban and from Pripet to the 
Black Sea the Ukrainian people constitute a uniform anthropological 


type.” ' They speak the same language and have the same cultural 
background. In the United States they live usually in the same com- 
munities, regardless of what they call themselves, often belong to the 
same churches, and are interested in the same political and religious 
problems. The various names are either a remnant of the foreign 
rule under which subjugated nationalities were known by names given 
to them by their conquerors — ^in the case of Ukrainians by the Rus- 
sians, Poles, Austrians, or Hungarians — or are an indication of the 
political or religious attitude of a section of the group. 

In this discussion, the term “Ukrainian” is used for all subdivisions 
of Ukr ainian immigrants and their descendants. Where necessary, 
particular groups are referred to by the name they prefer to call them- 


Records of first settlers in the American colonies, passenger lists of 
ships arriving here in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, army 
rolls of the Revolutionary War, and especially the chronicles of the 
discovery and settlement of Alaska, register numerous Slavonic names. 
Many of these names are similar to, or identical with, the names 
common among Ukrainians of that time. In some cases the bearers 
of such names are described as being from Poland or from Russia, 
which between them ruled over Ukraine. It can be assumed, there- 
fore, that Ukrainians were also represented among those early Slavic 
settlers in America. The tendency to consider the bearers of such 
Ukr ainian names as Russians or Poles would be as fallacious as to 
assert that all immigrants from recent Poland or Russia are either 
Poles or Russians. 

However this may be, the first known Ukrainian immigrant, 
Andreas Agapius Honcharenko, an Orthodox priest from Kiev, did 
not arrive until the year 1865. He escaped from persecution by the 
Russian government for his revolutionary activities. Three years 
later he became editor of the Alaska Herald, a semimonthly in English 
and in Russian, published in San Francisco. The paper was sub- 
sidized at the beginning by federal agencies for Alaska as a means 
of instructing the inhabitants of the newly acquired territory about 
American laws and customs. Later on he was active in helping polit- 
ical refugees from Czarist Russia. He died on Kis farm, named 
“Ukraine,” in Hayward, Cahfomia, in 1916. A Liberty ship was 
named after him in the second World War. 

The actual history of Ukrainian immigration begins in the seventies 



of the last century, when large groups of Ukrainian peasants from 
the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains began to arrive. The moun- 
tain regions of the Austrian province of Galicia and of northern 
Hungary, populated by impoverished, land-hungry, overtaxed and 
overmortgaged peasants, had been an important source of cheap labor 
for the estates of Polish and Hungarian nobles. At that time Amer- 
ican industry was recovering from the depression of 1873-1876. In 
addition, the American mill and mine owners wanted to break the 
growing union movement of their workers by importing cheap labor 
from Europe. Some of the agents, referred to in the preceding 
chapter, reached the regions on the border between Galicia and 
Hungary and caused mass emigration despite various countermeasures 
of the Austro-Hungarian government. The Ukrainian immigrants 
began to arrive in ever-increasing numbers, first to the coal mines 
around Shenandoah and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, later to all larger 
American industrial centers. Several hundreds of them were induced 
to sign contracts that they did not understand and were transported 
(by way of Cape Horn) to the sugar plantations in the Hawaiian 

Political and religious persecution was another cause of Ukrainian 
immigration. Thousands of young men arrived from Austria, Hun- 
gary, and Russia, and in the postwar period also from Poland and 
Roumania, in order to escape punishment for pohtical offenses or to 
avoid mihtary conscription. Several thousands of Protestant peasants 
from the Russian Ukraine — “Shtoondisty,” a sect somewhat similar to 
the Mennonites — settled first in Virginia and then in North Dakota, 
escaping severe persecution of the Czarist government and of the 
official Russian Orthodox Church during the decade preceding the 
first Russian Revolution of 1905. 

Statistics. The United States census of 1940 lists 83,600 persons 
who registered their mother tongue as Ukrainian. Probably an equal 
number of Ukrainians who prefer to call themselves Russians, 
Carpatho-Russians, or Rusins fisted their mother tongue as Russian. 
With over half a million members of the Ukrainian and Ruthenian 
Catholic dioceses and some 150,000 members of various Orthodox 
and other religious bodies, the mother-tongue figures seem to be 
entirely inadequate as an estimate of the Ukrainian American group. 
The figure of 700,000 for all Ukrainian immigrants and their descend- 
ants, with three fifths of this number comprising those Ukrainian 
Americans who prefer to call themselves Carpatho-Russians or Rus- 
sians, seems to be a fair minimum estimate. 



Distribution. The largest center of Ukrainian Americans is the 
soft coal and foundry region of southwestern Pennsylvania around the 
city of Pittsburgh. There 153 out of the 374 Ukrainian colonies in 
Pennsylvania are located. Pittsburgh alone has from fifteen to twenty 
or more thousand Ukrainians. Another area with a large number 
of Ukrainians is the hard coal region of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and 
Pottsville, also in Pennsylvania, where men work mostly in anthracite 
mines and women in silk mills. During the second World War, many 
Pennsylvania Ukrainians, especially from the hard coal region, moved 
to large industrial centers in other states, especially to northern New 
Jersey and to Connecticut. The third center in Pennsylvania is 
Philadelphia, with from ten to fifteen thousand Ukrainians. New 
York City, with some 35,000 Ukrainians, has by far the largest group 
in any one city, and large colonies are in neighboring towns across the 
Hudson River in New Jersey, having come there especially after 
that region became an important center of war industries. Some 
20,000 Ukrainians are in Newark, and large numbers of them are in 
Paterson, Passaic, Elizabeth, and New Brunswick. Chicago has 
about 2 5,000 persons of Ukrainian birth and descent, and Detroit has 
probably the same number, a result of the boom of its industries during 
the war. 

Occupations. Some 80 per cent of American Ukrainians live in 
cities and work in coal mines (anthracite and bituminous), foundries, 
textile nulls, automobile and aeroplane factories, restaurants, on rail- 
roads, as window cleaners, and in building trades. The rest of them 
live in rural regions, work in lumber camps and small local industries, 
and some 50,000 or more of them live and work on farms. Compact 
farmers’ communities are in North Dakota (Kiev, Russo, Max, Butte, 
Ukrama, Gorham) ; smaller groups are on Long Island, around Syra- 
cuse, Albany, and Saratoga, New York; Holyoke and Deerfield, 
Massachusets; Harrah, Oklahoma; Scobey, Montana; Clayton, Wis- 
consin; Chisholm, Minnesota; with scattered farmers throughout 
Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Nova Ukraina), 
Florida, and Texas. 

Several thousand Ukrainians serve their communities as grocers, 
butchers, tailors, and undertakers, with a number of them in other 
fields of business on a larger scale. In the cities, the second and 
third generations enter all fields of gainful occupation, with thousands 
of them working as bookkeepers, stenographers, office clerks, public 
and high-school teachers, lawyers, physicans, college professors, and in 
other professions. 


Political divisions. The conditions in their country of origin and 
the attitude toward its past and future caused the main divisions among 
the Ukrainian Americans. They all resented the oppressive political 
and economic conditions that had forced them to emigrate. They 
differed on ways and methods by which those conditions could and 
should be changed and improved. 

One group favors development of the national culture, promotion 
of political organization, and strengthening of economic power of the 
Ukrainian people so that they can achieve “an equal status of 
souvereignty and equal measure of independence” with their neigh- 
bors, especially Poland and Russia. A large part of that group speaks 
outrightly about an independent Ukrainian state as the ultimate goal. 
The supporters of these ideals use the name “Ukrainian” in place of all 
other local or foreign designations, even those of them who consider 
the present status of Ukraine in the Soviet Union as fulfillment of this 

The second group used to turn their eyes toward Russia as the 
traditional enemy of Poland and Austria. They pinned their hopes 
on cultural and political unity with Russia and manifested their con- 
victions by calling themselves “Russians.” In 1944, some of them 
were trying to transfer their hopes to the Soviet Union, although they 
still shied away from ties with Soviet Ukraine, the very existence of 
which, as a separate entity, they had once denied. 

The third group is composed mainly of immigrants from former 
Hungary. Their country became in 1918 part of the Czechoslovak 
Republic under the name of Podkarpatska Rus. After a short period 
of autonomous existence as Carpatho-Ukraine in 1939, the country 
was in March of that year occupied by Hungary. For a long period 
these Ukrainians were dominated by their Magyarized priests, and 
only after the tragic events in their country of origin did they become 
more interested in the problems of their kinsmen abroad. Most of 
them would like to see their “old country” freed from Hungarian 
occupation, although there is no unity among them as to whether 
it should rejoin Czechoslovakia, or become a part of Ukraine or 
directly of the Soviet Union. 

The struggle between clericalism and secularism in political life, 
between conservative nationalism and socialism, between communist 
and fascist propaganda during the period between the two wars, have 
played important parts in further political differentiation of the group 
as to their attitudes toward the problems of Ukraine. In American 
politics, they divided in the same way as the rest of their co-citizens. 



Some of them are Democrats, some Republicans, Socialists, or Com- 
munists. Most of those who are workers belong to unions. All of 
them practice democracy in their organizational life. 

Regarding problems arising from the second World War, all 
Ukrainian Americans are opposed to the enslavement of their country 
of origin by the Nazi Herrenvolk and by Hungarian overlords. 
They vary as to the further fate of Ukraine. Although none of 
them wants the return of Polish rule in western Ukraine, and many 
oppose further union of Carpatho-Ukraine with Czechoslovakia, the 
various degrees of mistrust toward the Soviet Union find expression 
in demands of safeguards for their autonomy. A large group, as in 
the last war, continues to advocate full indepedence for all Ukrainian 
territories in Europe. 

Religio?!. Originally all immigrants from Austria-Hungary, with 
the exception of those from the province of Bukowina, were of the 
Greek Catholic religion, which acknowledges the Pope as the head 
of the church but retains Eastern rites, including marriage of clergy. 
Various circumstances, among them extensive Russian Orthodox 
(Czaiist) propaganda, induced scores of parishes to join that church. 
In order to put a stop to this movement, a Greek Catholic Diocese 
with a separate bishop of Ukrainian nationality was created in 1907. 
Later on, in 1924, another Greek Catholic Diocese was established for 
the immigrants from Carpatho-Ukraine. Dissensions within those 
two dioceses brought about organization of two Ukrainian dioceses 
and one Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, with several “inde- 
pendent” parishes to both. The Protestant (Presbyterian, Methodist, 
and Baptist) missions made little headway among Ukrainian Amer- 
icans. The “Shtoondisty” of North Dakota, organized in several 
Adventist, Mennonite, Baptist, and independent congregations, form 
the largest Protestant body among Ukrainian Americans. 

The Ukrainian Catholic Diocese maintains a college, two high 
schools, and a score of parochial public schools, as well as a museum 
in Stamford, Connecticut, and two orphanages, in Philadelphia, Penn- 
sylvania, and in Chesapeake, Maryland. The Ruthenian Greek 
Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, helps to maintan an 
orphanage in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, and several parochial schools. 
Other dioceses take care of the courses for candidates for priesthood. 
Almost all parishes maintain classes in which the children are taught 
to read and write in Ukrainian. 

Many Ukrainian Americans of Russophile leanings belong to the 
Russian Orthodox Church in which they form a decided majority. 


Organizations. Fourteen fraternal organizations, with more than 
180,000 members in close to 4,000 lodges, had at the beginning of the 
year 1944 almost thirty-two million dollars in their treasuries. The 
oldest of them, the Greek Catholic Union of Russian Brotherhoods, 
with headquarters in Homestead, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1892. 
It was followed by the Ukrainian National Association of Jersey City, 
New Jersey, founded in 1894. Russophile propaganda among the 
Ukrainians from Austria resulted a year later in the founding of the 
Russian Orthodox CathoHc Mutual Aid Society of Wilkes-Barre, and 
the struggle against clericalism gave birth to the Ukrainian Working- 
men’s Association of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Religious and political 
divisions caused further splits in then existing associations or the 
creation of new ones. 

Outside of churches and fraternal organizations, the Ukrainian 
Americans are banded together in many national and local societies 
and clubs whose aim is to promote social and cultural life or to support 
some political cause. In more than a hundred communities, Ukrain- 
ian or Carpatho-Russian “national homes” are maintained. They 
usually have a hall for meetings, amateur shows, and concerts, with 
rooms for evening classes, clubs, and other social activities. Local 
reading circles, athletic and sports clubs, welfare societies and polit- 
ical groups, have their meeting places in such homes. Almost every 
community has a “citizens’ club” through which American citizens 
of Ukrainian birth and descent participate in pohtics. They often 
succeed in placing their members in municipal and county ofiSces, 
especially in Pennsylvania. Second-generation Ukrainian Americans 
won seats in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and 
other legislatures or state offices in those states. During the second 
World War, Ukrainian local and regional committees helped to 
sell tens of millions of dollars’ worth of war bonds and collected 
considerable contributions for the American Red Cross, the United 
Service Organizations (USO), and for various other forms of war 

The press. Over 150 newspapers and periodicals have been started 
by Ukrainian Americans since 1886, when their first biweekly, 
America, made its appearance in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania; many of 
them have been discontinued, others merged, so that in 1944 the 
Ukrainian group was served by twenty-eight publications. Fourteen 
of them — ^two dailies, five semiweeklies and weeklies, seven semi- 
monthlies and monthlies^are printed in Ukrainian with occasional 
English pages; two are in English; and twelve — ^five semiweeklies and 



weeklies and seven monthlies — are printed in Carpathian dialects of 
the Ukrainian language or in Russian. 

Contributions to American Life 

The Ukrainian immigrant, as a worker, contributed to America s 
development not only by his ‘^weat and brawn” but also by^ his 
honesty and sense of justice. It was this sense of justice and willing- 
ness to fight for it that made the Ukrainian and other Slavonic miners 
of Pennsylvania the mainstay of strikes, which, after four previous 
failures, resulted at the beginning of this century in the establishment 
of labor unions in the coal industry. They, with other newer immi- 
grants, played important roles in unionizing the steel, rubber, auto- 
mobile, and other industries. 

Ukrainian Americans also contributed to the material and cultural 
development of America through the scientific knowledge and artistic 
talents of their more gifted individuals and by introducing into the 
American pattern many cultural values of their native land. 

Alexander Archipenko’s masterpieces adorn the sculptural sections 
of several American museums. Many of them have been created in 
his studios in Long Island and CaHfomia. After conducting several 
successful tours with Ukrainian choirs throughout the United States, 
Professor Alexander Koshetz settled in New York, where, until his 
death in September, 1944, at the age of 69, he occasionally conducted 
several choirs and at the same time published his own compositions 
and choral arrangements of Ukrainian songs for American choruses. 
A set of twenty songs arranged and conducted by 'him was recently 
recorded by thankful countrymen in order to preserve his art for 

Composers Michael Hayvoronsky, Pavlo Pecheniha-Ouglitzky, 
Roman Prydatkevych, and Anthony Rudnicky live in or around New 
York and have made names for themselves in even wider circles. 
New York opera goers still remember the performances of Adam 
Didur, a Ukrainian by birth, and Philadelphians the performances of 
Ivan Steshenko. Movie star Anna Sten is the daughter of a Swedish 
mother and a Ukrainian father. American-born film actors “Iron 
Mike” Mazurki (Mazurkevich) and John Hodiak, as well as movie 
director Edward Dmytryk, are of Ukrainian descent. 

Cartoons by John Rosol (Rosolovich) are enjoyed by millions of 
readers of American and English magazines. Vladimir Tytla assisted 
Walter Disney in his “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and in 
other masterpieces. 


In sports, Dr. George Kojac of New York established the Olympic 
record in back-stroke swimming in 1928. Bronko Nagurski became 
an all-time legend of the gridiron. Peter Pick and John Trepak rank 
among the best American swimmers and weight lifters, respectively. 

Sabin A. Sochocky’s invention of radium paint and the subsequent 
manufacture of luminous watch hands brought about his untimely 
death from radium poisoning in 1928. Mirko Paneyko’s equipment 
for acoustic electrical sound reproduction, installed in several of Amer- 
ica’s largest auditoriums, enables the audience to hear music repro- 
duced without distortion. Volodymyr Dzus invented fasteners 
which he produces in two factories in the United States and one in 
England; these are used on all airplanes of the United Nations. 

Volodymyr Timoshenko’s work on the economics of Ukraine and 
Russia secured him a professorship, first at the University of Michigan 
and later at Stanford University, California. Alexander Nepritzky- 
Granovsky is professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota. 

Ukrainian melodies inspired many compositions of George Gersh- 
win, among them the well-known song “Don’t Forget Me” from the 
operetta Song of the Flame. Lively Ukrainian dances popularized 
in America and Canada by Vasil Avramenko not only helped to 
revive interest in folk dancing in general, but also are finding their 
way, as Allen H. Eaton in Immigrant Gifts to American Life pre- 
dicted, “into the stream of our culture.” Many steps and figures in 
dances of modern American youth can be traced directly to Ukrainian 
“Arkan,” “Kozachok,” “Metelytzia,” or “Zaporozhsky Herts.” 
American cakes, macaroni, and pastry are made from well-known 
Ukrainian kinds of wheat, such as “Kubanka,” “Crimean,” and 
“Kharkov,” which have been found very suitable for the climate and 
soil of the American and Canadian prairie states. Such dishes as 
“borshtch,” “kasha,” “blintzi,” and “vareniki,” popular in Jewish and 
Russian restaurants in America, are the usual dishes of the farmers 
of Ukraine and were brought here by Ukrainian, Jewish, and other 
immigrants from that country. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

Although the Polish Americans, just like most other central-eastern 
European immigrants, are considered only recent arrivals, Poles have 
played an important part in the building of America since colonial 
times. They were among the settlers led by Captain John Smith at 


Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, and staged what was doubtless one of 
America’s first strikes until they were permitted to vote like the 
English for members of the House of Burgesses. 

Peter Stuyvesant, recognizing Poles as valuable farming and fight- 
ing colonists, induced them to settle in New Holland (New York) . 
As early as 1662, Dr. Alexander Kurcyusz founded in New York 
one of the first institutions of learning in America. John Sadowski 
set up a trading post in 1735 that was the forerunner of the busy 
industrial city of Sandusky, Ohio. His two sons were companions 
of Daniel Boone in many of his exploits. 

Poles were generously sprinkled in the thirteen colonies at the 
time of the Revolution and contributed to the ultimate freedom of 
America. They had been in Delaware as early as 1650, and William 
Penn numbered them among his loyal settlers. Most famous of the 
early Polish Americans was Kosciuszko, who joined the army of the 
Revolution in 1 776, rose to the rank of colonel of artillery, and became 
General Washington’s adjutant; Congress awarded him American citi- 
zenship, a pension with landed estates, and the rank of brigadier 
general. Pulaski was another noted Pole who aided the youthful 
United States. 


Polish migration on a large scale did not begin until about 1832, 
after a political uprising in Poland. In that year, in 1 848, and in the 
i88o’s, economic and political disturbances in the old world gave 
impetus to emigration. By i860, Poles were found in all the states 
in the Union, the greatest number of them being located in New York, 
Texas, California (attracted there by the gold rush in 1850), Wis- 
consin, and Michigan. The first large Polish colonies were organized 
in Texas, and in 1854 the foundation of the towns of Panna Maria 
and Czechstochowa, still in existence, were laid. Other groups 
founded the towns of Polonia, Wisconsin, and Parisville, Michigan, 
near Detroit. A Polish family from West Prussia settled in Portage 
County, Wisconsin, one of the most prosperous rural communities of 

The unsuccessful revolt of 1863 brought another group of the 
nationalistic Poles to this country. Many came to Chicago, and a 
great many of these settled in a single area on the West Side, from 
Seventeenth to Twentieth streets, between Faflin and Hoyne Avenues. 
Bismarck’s Prussianizing policy of 1870 gave an 'impetus to further 
immigration. The great tide of Polish immigration began in the 


eighties, and was motivated, in general, and in contrast to previous 
immigration, by economic rather than political conditions. After 
1885 many Poles, who had been engaged in industrial pursuits in the 
cities, were attracted by advertisements of cheap land and settled on 
farms in Wisconsin and the Dakotas. The Russian economic crisis of 
1901-1903, and the effects of the revolutionary troubles of 1905, 
increased the immigration from the Polish districts of Russia. In the 
decade and a half just preceding World War I, the volume was the 
greatest. This inflow concentrated in the new industrial cities, along 
the Great Lakes, in the mining and industrial districts of Pennsyl- 
vania, and on the northeastern coast of the United States. The 
Jewish element went mostly into the sweat-shop industries in their 
homes, and especially the tailoring business in New York. Most of 
some two million Jews of New York are of eastern European (and 
thus also PoHsh) origin. 

Today there are about 4,000,000 Poles widely distributed over the 
United States. About 80 per cent of them are naturahzed. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

According to the 1940 census, Chicago has the largest Polish popu- 
lation of any city in the United States, with about half a million; it is 
the second largest “Pohsh” city in the world. Detroit, next in rank, 
has approximately 300,000, and New York City has about 200,000. 
These figures include native-born Poles and inhabitants of Polish 

Other large cities that have considerable Polish settlements are 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey, Cleve- 
land, Ohio, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. In general, nearly half 
of the Poles live in the Middle Atlantic states. New York, New Jersey, 
and Pennsylvania; about one third in the East North Central division; 
and one tenth in New England. They have given Polish names to 
a number of minor settlements. Thus we find Ponan in Illinois, 
Polishville in Iowa, Wilno in Michigan, Pulaski and Krakow in Mis- 
souri, Kxakow and Pilzno in Nebraska, Warsaw in North Dakota, 
Czestochowa, Panna Maria, Kosciuszko, and Polonia in Texas, and 
Krakow, Polonia, Pulaski, and Sobieski in Wisconsin. 

Occupations. Most of the immigrants from Poland were landless 
peasants, laborers, and small tradesmen in the old country. While 
Polish farmers are to be found in states from coast to coast, only one 
out of ten Poles in the United States tills the soil. The largest number 
of Poles are employed in industry, particularly in sugar refineries, 



cotton, mills, furniture factories, mines, steel mills, automobile plants, 
and in the lumber industry in the Northwest. 

Wherever the Polish settlers started farming, they have been nearly 
uniformly successful, especially when they took up farms abandoned 
by Americans and coaxed out of them a good living. This is partic- 
ularly pronounced in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where the Poles 
have taken over a large part of the Connecticut River Valley. But 
the largest number of American Poles is employed in sugar refineries, 
agricultural implement and vehicle establishments, cotton mills, furni- 
ture factories, bituminous coal mines, slaughtering and meat packing, 
and leather manufacturing industries, in the textile mills of New 
England, the mines and steel mills of Pennsylvania, the steel works 
of Gary, the great Ford factories, and the lumber camps of the 
Pacific coast. 

Organizations. There are some 10,000 Polish dramatic, literary, 
singing, social, religious, and athletic societies in America, such as the 
Alliance of Polish Literary and Dramatic Circles of America, the 
PoHsh Army Veterans’ Association, the Pulaski Legion of America, 
and the Polish Associated Federal Employees. There are also various 
national Polish organizations to which belong approximately 750,000 
members. The Polish Roman Catholic Union in America was 
founded in 1874 and has now some 180,000 members and around 
thirteen million dollars in reserve funds. The Pohsh National Alli- 
ance, organized in 1879, has 275,000 members and 2,300 branches in 
twenty-six states, and is the largest organization of any immigrant 
group in the United States. These and other organizations have 
local lodges, which, especially those affiliated with the parishes, usually 
have mutual benefit provisions as their main purpose, together with 
musical, educational, charitable, gymnastic, agricultural, industrial, 
and purely social departments. 

Religion. The Roman Catholic Church has functioned more 
largely than any other one organized force in keeping alive the 
national aspirations in Poland. The Pohsh Americans, at least a 
majority of them, retain this attitude and remain at heart Roman 
Catholics. Most of the philanthropic and social societies are, in fact, 
afiihated with the church, which is also a tremendous educational 
institution. There are 830 Polish Roman Catholic parishes and 
eighty-three Polish Roman Catholic Missions in the United States, 
fourteen orphanages, three seminaries each for men and for women. 

A comparatively small minority of Poles belong to the Polish Na- 
tional Catholic Church. A convention of independent congregations 



was held at Scranton, Pennsylvania, in September, 1904, under Rever- 
end Francis Hodur, who was elected bishop of the new group. The 
church maintains its own theological Savonarola Seminary at Scran- 
ton and has its weekly organ, the Straz. In 1944 this church had 146 
parishes in four dioceses, 148 priests, and the membership, in round 
numbers, of 95,000 families (about 400,000 persons). The Right 
Reverend Hodur is Primate Bishop. There were four other bishops 
in America and one in Poland (imprisoned by Germans in a concen- 
tration camp). From the Cathohc point of view the Polish National 
Church is regarded as Protestant and of negligible importance. 

The Protestant work among the Polish Americans is rather insig- 
nificant. American Protestant churches — Baptists, Methodists, Epis- 
copalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians — support home mis- 
sions among the Poles. Of course there are many Poles not affiliated 
with any religious organization. 

Considerably more than any other Slav group in America, the Poles 
support a surprisingly large number of educational institutions of 
learning. The situation in Chicago, described above, may be taken 
as typical. In the United States there are 560 Polish Roman Catholic 
parochial schools with approximately 300,000 children and over 5,000 
teachers. On the secondary school level there are twelve Polish 
Cathohc high schools for girls, nine Polish high schools for boys, and 
nineteen Polish coeducational schools, all conducted by parishes. In 
addition, the Poles support some twenty-seven seminaries, nonnal 
schools, and other institutions of learning, conducted by different reh- 
gious orders, and several colleges, including St. Stanislaus, Chicago; 
St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake, Michigan; the Alliance College, 
Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania; and St. John Kanty College, Erie, 
Pennsylvania. The Polish National Affiance College, founded in 
1912, belongs to this nonsectarian organization. A great deal of 
educational work is carried on also by the Kosciuszko Foundation, 
established in 1925, which promotes cultural and intellectual relations 
between Poland and America and arranges especially for exchange 

The press. Before the depression, the Polish Americans were 
represented by some 100 periodicals. By 1930, there were fifteen 
daffies, one semiweekly, sixty-four weeklies, four biweeklies, forty- 
one monthlies, and three quarterlies; during the depression, the number 
of dailies dropped to eleven. The oldest Pohsh daily is the Kurjer 
Polski, founded in 1 888 in Milwaukee. Most of the periodicals serve 
the interest of various organizations, others propound the political 



leanings of various groups, and the remainder serve the interest of 
a locality. Nearly all Polish periodicals contain material in English 
for the younger generation. Sports articles lead in space here set 
aside for Enghsh material. This is due to the fact that Poles are well 
represented in practically every Hne of sport, and especially in foot- 

New York and Pennsylvania have fourteen Polish publications 
each, Illinois ten, Michigan nine, and Wisconsin six. The location 
of the Polish-language press in the key states indicates the importance 
that the Polish vote might have in the presidential elections. 

Political activities. Because of their gradual assimilation, Poles are 
beginning to play an increasingly important part in American politics. 
In the coal regions around Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 
they have been able to dominate some municipahties, in some cases 
with unfortunate results — characteristic of minority groups which 
suddenly come to power. Hamtramck, Michigan, is almost exclu- 
sively governed by Poles.^ In and around Detroit and Chicago the 
Poles hold numerous state and county positions. 

When Hitler’s threat against Poland appeared on the horizon, the 
Polish Americans, as during World War I, offered their help to the 
cause of the homeland. Universally they were eager to avenge what 
the Nazis did to Poland. But with the changing fortunes of the war, 
when Russia eventually became one of the allies of England and the 
United States, the four largest Polish fraternal organizations refused 
to take part — at the beginning, at least — in the American Slav Con- 
gress, partly because they suspected the Slav Congress of left-wing 
endeavor, partly because they opposed United States aid to Russia. 
Yet all four organizations, and the superimposed Polish American 
Council, were loyal in their support of the United States war effort 
and hated the Nazis fanatically. But while Russia’s former Polish 
war prisoners in the meantime formed new army divisions, eager to 
fight the Germans even under Russian command, minority factions 
of the United States Polish community had the somewhat quixotic 
notion that their decimated people could still afford to count both 
Germany and Russia among their enemies. When Polish Prime 
Minister Sikorski tried to make the Polish Americans understand his 
conciliatory attitude toward Russia, he met with some opposition. 

A poll organized in the summer of 1943 by United States govem- 

1 See “Steelworker’s Boy,” Time, XLII, 22 (November 29, 1943), p. 21, which 
describes the football career of Casimir John Myslinski of West Point. 

2 See “Trouble in Hamtramck,” Time, XLI, 20 (May 17, 1943), pp. 22-23. 



ment agencies to determine the political attitudes of Polish Americans 
toward the problem of Poland brought to light some extremely inter- 
esting indications: nine out of ten Polish Americans believed that they 
should do everything they could to help Poland; 41 per cent felt 
that the United States should guarantee a fair territorial settlement for 
Poland, “even if it meant fighting Russia”; only one third declared 
that they would be satisfied with Poland’s prewar boundaries. The 
majority were in favor of “Bigger Poland.” 

The poll revealed, according to Andre Visson, that “American 
Poles seem to have a sentimental rather than practical political ap- 
proach to the problems of Poland, which they remember with a 
certain nostalgia and which they do not want to forget even when 
they are integrated into American national life.” ^ On May 29, 1944, 
Americans of Polish descent organized the Polish-American Congress. 
Its twofold purpose is to give expression to their “undivided service, 
love, and attachment,” to the United States and to give their “full 
support and aid to the Polish nation.” 

The pro- and anti-Russian attitude split the Polish Americans during 
1943 and 1944. The left flank — ^headed by the Polish-American 
Communists, a very insignificant group, by the way — criticized the 
Polish government for what they considered to be its too unyielding 
attitude on the problem of Polish-Soviet boundaries. Then there was 
a group of Polish-American intellectuals — ^mostly Socialists — ^headed 
by Socialist Oscar Lange (former lecturer at Cracow University), 
at the time professor of economics at Chicago University, which 
favored the “Curzon line.” Early in November, 1943, another group 
that urged agreement and collaboration with Soviet Russia appeared 
in Detroit as the Kosciuszko League (the name emphasized its 
solidarity with the Polish Kosciuszko Division fighting in the Soviet 

At the same time, violent attacks against Sikorski’s government and 
its policy of rapprochement with Russia were carried on by Colonel 
Ignaci Matuszewski, one of the prominent figures in the Pilsudski 
regime, who, after his arrival in America in the fall of 1941, started 
animating the Polish-American press by his journalistic talents and 
his supemationalistic ideology. He became the political writer of 
Noivy Siviat, a Polish-language paper published in New York by 
a wealthy prewar importer of Polish hams, Maximilian Wegrzynek, 

3 Andre Visson, “Poland Enlists U. S. Tolonia’ in Border Disputes,” New York 
Herald Tribune, January 9, 1944. See also Visson, “New Group of Poles in America 
Seeks Better Russian Relations,” Zfod, January j6, 1944. 



who, incidentally, also was a publisher of a supernationalistic Hun- 
garian paper. In June, 1942, Wegrzynek founded the National Com- 
mittee of Americans of Polish Descent; under its Polish abbreviation, 
Knapp, it became well known and active. Its policy was to see pre- 
war Poland restored and expanded at the expense of Germany and if 
possible also of Russia. It wanted to retain Teschen, the Czech 
territory Poland seized when Hitler dismembered Czechoslovakia. 
Incidentally, Czech President Eduard Benes was considered by Knapp 
as its enemy Number 2 — enemy Number i, of course, being 

Acmlturation. In contrast to other immigrant groups, the Polish 
American has been able to retain to an unusual degree the Polish 
culture pattern within the American civilization. This is due to the 
persistence with which the Polish immigrant clings to memories of his 
nationahty, the strength of the Roman Catholic Church, the unselfish 
w'ilhngness with which the Polish American supports his own insti- 
tutions in America, the continued interest of the Polish government 
displayed in its compatriots in America, and the activities of such 
organizations as the Polish Roman Catholic Union Archives and 
Museum and the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America. 

Contributions to American Life 

The Poles have made their contributions to American culture in 
three ways. First, it is quite obvious that the contributions made by 
Poland to our civilization are an inseparable part of the intricate 
and complex culture of America. Such great names as Nicholas 
Copernicus, Paderewski, Sienkiewicz, Joseph Conrad, Helena Mod- 
jeska, Marie Skolkowska-Curie, and numerous others are known to 
ail, and are their contributions not only a part of Polish culture but 
also of America’s culture? Is there a music lover in America who, 
for instance, does not know the music of Chopin? 

Second, the Polish American has impressed his personality on 
American culture as a group. This fact is well expressed by 
Thaddeus Hoinke: * 

There is an item of the Polish contribution usually entirely over- 
looked. . . . This is the cumulative contribution of the four million Poles 
in this country. This human item is the greatest gift that Poland has 
given America. Someone may remark that the American Poles, as a 
class, have been mostly laborers and farmers. True enough. But they 

* Thaddeus Hoinke, “The Polish Contribution to America,” pp. 74-75, in Poles in 
America, Tomczak, Anthony C., Editor. Chicago, Polish Day Association, 1933. 



arrived in this country, like the Polish carpenters and pitch makers of 
Virginia and the Polish soldiers of the Revolutionary time, at the crucial 
moment in the development of the American Commonwealth— at the time 
of laying the foundations of the new industrial empire. . . . This great 
army of labor, in which the Poles play an important role, has won for 
this nation the first place in the industrial life of the tvorld. Only by 
means of their humble but indispensable qualities, because of their sweat 
and titantic work, could this country achieve such an unprecedented level 
of prosperity and might. And not only because of that— this great army 
of peaceful fighters had actually paid with its own blood for the comfort 
and higher standards of living in this country. In i9Z5, 10,537 
died as a result of industrial accidents. . . . Much of this was Polish 

In the third place, the Poles have furnished several outstanding, 
even world-famous, names in the purely cultural field. In the opera, 
the Poles are proud of Jean de Reszke, Adam Didur, and Ina Burskaya. 
Carole Landis, a Hollywood star, born a Ridste, comes from one of 
those large Polish families which has many widely scattered relatives. 
The late Richard Boleslawski directed several outstanding Hollywood 
films. Jan Kiepura, a young Polish tenor, appeared in 1935 opposite 
Gladys Swarthout in “Give Us This Night,” a Paramount film, and 
starred in “The Merry Widow” on Broadway in 1943-1944. 
Leopold Stokowski, formerly with the Philadelphia Symphony Or- 
chestra and engaged later in his fine experiment to acquaint the masses 
with great music, is one of the greatest of America’s conductors. 
Dr. Arthur Rodzinski is a conductor of long experience and famed 
as “an orchestra builder and repairer.” ° In 1933, he developed the 
Cleveland Orchestra into one of the Middle West’s two finest musical 
organizations (the other, the Chicago Symphony). He was picked 
by Arturo Toscanini in 1937 to organize and train the NBC Sym- 
phony. In 1943 he became the new “boss” of the New York Phil- 
harmonic Symphony. The son of a Pohsh army surgeon, he was 
born in Spalato on the coast of Dalmatia. He studied law at the 
University of Lwow. Severely wounded in World War I, he 
resumed his law studies in Vienna and took his doctor’s degree, 
which had no connection with music. Eventually he got a job at the 
Warsaw Opera, where Leopold Stokowski met him in 1925 and 
offered him an assistant conductorship in Philadelphia. The names 
of Paderewski and Josef Hoffman are too familiar to be more than 

s'Turged Philharmonic,” Time, XLII, 16 (October 18, 1943), p. 24. 



The Poles have also made contributions to many other fields — in 
painting and sculpture, in politics, and in the sciences of engineering, 
medicine, and so on. Only a few can be mentioned. Professor F. 
Pawlowski, head of the department of aeronautical engineering of 
the University of Michigan, is a pioneer in aeronautical education. 
Leopold Julian Beeck laid plans for the first polytechnic institution in 
the United States and was a member of the faculties of the University 
of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Oskar 
Halecla, one of the greatest of Europe’s historians, now heads the 
Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in New York City. Dr. Ralph 
Modjeski, one of the best-known engineers in the United States, is 
chairman of the Board of Engineers of the San Francisco-Oakland 
bridge and served as consultant on the Manhattan bridge over the East 
River, New York, and the Mid-Hudson bridge at Poughkeepsie; he 
is the son of the famous Polish tragedienne, Madame Helena Modjeska, 
who died in 1909. A monument to her was unveiled in 1935 in 
Anaheim, California. 

The late Bronislaw K. Malinowski, Bishop Museum visiting pro- 
fessor of anthropology at Yale University (who died in 1942), was 
recognized as one of the great social anthropologists of modem times. 
He developed a new way of loolcing at primitive cultures. He came 
to anthropology in the days when the greatest emphasis was centered 
on recoring and classifying the peculiar antics of savage peoples 
and attempting to reconstruct the evolutionary histories which would 
lead back into a prehuman animal world, Malinowski was the first 
to state the necessity of participating directly in the lives of savages; 
it was his technique to observe a primitive people from within, through 
its own language and the eyes and sentiments of its members. In his 
numerous studies he became the founder of a new approach in that 
field, now known as functionalism. This approach emphasized the 
functional interrelationships of all cultural phenomena in the structure 
of society. Dr. Joseph Jastrow, on the other hand, was a psychol- 
ogist, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin for 
thirty-nine years. Long a valiant tilter at man’s absurdities, he wrote 
fourteen books and numerous articles, and from 1935 to 1938 lectured 
regularly on the NBC network. Dr. Feliks Gross, a well-known 
sociologist, founded the Central and Eastern European Institute dur- 
ing World War II. Staff Sergeant Sylvester Frederick Dudex of 
Philadelphia received the Virtuti Militari for heroism while gunner 
on a Polish Wellington bomber. 



Joseph S. Roucek 

When the time came to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of the 
Czechoslovak Republic on October 28, 1939, Prague was restlessly 
silent under the watchful eyes of German police, while thousands of 
Czech and Slovak Americans and their friends in the United States 
were organizing again, as during the first World War, for the 
restoration of this republic which had been established in 1 9 1 8. They 
recalled that Professor Thomas Garigue Masaryk signed the Declara- 
tion of Independence of the Republic of Czechoslovakia on October 
18, 1918, in Washington, D. C., and that many had rallied around 
the exiled diplomats who displayed the red, white, and blue ensign 
of Czech sovereignty on the Legation in Washington, the Czecho- 
slovak pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939-1940, and 
numerous consulates. These citadels of independence survived when 
the United States refused to recognize Germany’s protectorate. 


Contrary to the popular fiction that the Czechs are “new” immi- 
grants, the Czech element has appeared in the American mosaic from 
the start. Possibly the very &st naturalized American was the 
Czech, Augustine Herrman, who reached New Amsterdam in 1633 
and received “denization” in 1664. Sent to arbitrate a boundary dis- 
pute between the Dutch colony and Maryland, he mapped Maryland 
and Virginia with passable accuracy for the first time. Lord Balti- 
more rewarded him with a 20,000-acre estate on Maryland’s Eastern 
Shore peninsula, where he cut the first roads through “New Bohemia” 
and gave his homeland’s name to Bohemia River. He has been 
credited with introducing tobacco culture into northern Virginia. 
His great grandson, Richard Bassett, was one of the signers of the 
Constitution of the United States. The “merchant prince” Philipse 
(Frederick Filip), whose manor house is now a museum in Yonkers 
(New York), came from Bohemia. A descendant of his was the 
pretty Mary, described in Cooper’s The Spy, who rejected George 
W ashin gton to marry Captain Roger Morris. One of the Paca family 
who, in 1776, signed the Declaration of Independence for the state of 
Maryland, is believed to have been of Bohemian descent. 

After a seventeenth century edict banned all non-Catholics from 


western Czech (Bohemian) lands/ Protestants migrated or perished 
in numbers that reduced the population by three fourths. Among 
the religious refugees were the Moravian Brothers (also known as 
Herrnhuters), many of whom, together with the German converts 
to the Moravian Church, reached America by way of Germany and 
settled in Georgia, North Carolina, and in Pennsylvania. In Penn’s 
colony they founded Bethlehem in 1714. Bethlehem, Nazareth, and 
Lititz, in Pennsylvania, and Salem, in North CaroUna, were organized 
in colonial times as exclusive Moravian villages, after the model of the 
Moravian communities in Germany, England, and Holland. The 
Moravian Seminary and College for Women at Bethlehem (Penn- 
sylvania) , founded in 1 749, was the second girl’s boarding school in 
the United States. “The Moravians were among the first groups in 
the new world to become interested in Negro education and to make 
a definite and concrete attempt to organize a Negro school and 
develop a program of Negro education.” ^ Bohemian relics and 
books still exist at Bethlehem, sermons dealing with John Hus and 
Comenius are still preached there; and there is also an interesting 
cemetery, where an Indian lies beside a white man — the first example 
of the democracy of which the Americans are so proud. A Herm- 
huter, Matthew Stack, a Moravian by birth, became an apostle to 
the Eskimos in Greenland and labored among them from 1733 to 
1772. It is also interesting to note that the last bishop of this United 
Church, the famous John Amos Comenius (Komensky), who died 
at Amsterdam in 1670, has exercised tremendous influence on Amer- 
ican education. Like so many of his fellow countrymen, Comenius 
was driven into exile in 1628 because of the vindictiveness of the 
victors against the Czech people. He unfortunately did not accept 
the invitation to become president of Harvard University. Never- 
theless, he has gained a world- wide reputation through his educational 
activities and writings directly, and indirectly by his influence on such 
educators as Francke, Rousseau, and Pestalozzi. He is often referred 
to as the father of modem education. Few Americans who attend 
thousands of Masonic lodges in the United States know that Comenius 
is the spiritual founder of modem Masonry, for his pacific ideas are 
embodied in his work About the Betterment of Human Affairs, which 

^The term Czech {Bohemian) is here used to include Moravians and Silesians. 
The Carpatho-Ruthenians are dealt with in the section dealing with Ukrainian 

2 V. F. Calverton, The Awakening of America, p. iS 6 , New York: John Day 
Company, 1939. 



in 1717 served James Andersen when he compiled the statutes of Free- 
masonry. In this work, Komensky invites humanity to unite in the 
building of a new Solomon’s Temple as an abode of justice and love, 
peace and progress.® 

The first Slovak to visit America was, it is said, the king of 
Madagascar.* For services rendered, the natives of Madagascar chose 
a Slovak, Count Mauricius Augustus de Beniovsky, as king. He came 
to Baltimore about 1785 to raise money and ammunition for a war 
against the French, who opposed his claim to the throne. He re- 
turned on the ship Intrepid to Madagascar and shortly afterward 
was killed. A brother of Count Beniovsky served as an officer in 
Washington’s army. Several Slovaks served in the Civil War. 


The bulk of the Czech and Slovak immigrants came on two waves 
of the nineteenth century immigration. As refugees from Austrian 
politics, the Czechs poured in for the two decades following 1848. 
As sturdy farmers, they “homesteaded” free land in America’s expand- 
ing west, as described by Willa Cather in My Antonia. In 1852 the 
first Czechs settled in Chicago, now their American “capital.” Those 
coming from Bohemia and western Moravia settled chiefly in the 
northern states, but some from northeastern Bohemia and nearly all 
from eastern Moravia went to Texas. 

Near the end of the century came immigrants from Slovakia, mainly 
for economic reasons. Finding most of the frontier land already 
taken, they settled chiefly in the industrial eastern states among mines 
and nulls to forge the steel sinews of America’s mechanized strength 
in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio. Their “capital” is Pitts- 
burgh. Other centers are Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and 
Detroit, but practically one half of the million Slovaks in America are 
residents of Pennsylvania. 

The Czechs usually brought with them their families, intending 
to anchor here permanently. The Slovaks, on the contrary, usually 
left their families in Slovalda and returned to them as soon as they 
had made enough money to be considered rich in their home com- 
munities. Their waves of immigration corresponded to the demands 

® See: J. S. Roucek, “Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia,” The Builder y XV (February, 
1939), pp. 45-48; (March, 1939), pp. 79-83; (April, 1939), pp. 111-114, 129; also “The 
Pioneer and Founder of Modem Masonry, Jan Amos Komensky,” Square and Com-- 
pass (Denver), XXXVIII (December, 1929), pp. 28-38 ff., with documentary pictures. 

^Slovak Committee, Foreign Language Information Service, Slovaks Under the 
Stars and Stripes, p. 7. New York, 1930. 


for labor in American markets. When muscles were needed, they 
responded to the need for laborers; when the downward curves of 
business cycles discouraged them, they packed their meager belongings 
and filled the steerages of the ships heading for Europe. Eventually, 
however, this seasonal migration was stopped, or radically limited, 
when the new and stricter immigration laws of the United States were 
put into effect. 

Statistics concerning the number of Czech and Slovak immigrants 
in America are uncertain. For example, many who were reported 
as Slav, Slavic, Slavish, Slavonian — ^the 1910 census registered 35,195 
such — ^should have been credited to Slovaks. Many were registered 
on their arrival as Germans, Austrians, or Hungarians. The census 
of 1930 states that there were 491,638 foreign-born Czechoslovaks 
and that the native bom of Czechoslovak parentage was 890,441. 
Therefore, the official total was 1,382,079, although the most reliable 
estimates are that there are some 1,750,000 Czechs and Slovaks and 
their descendants in America. During the decade 1931-1940, 14,393 
Czechoslovaks were admitted, the number being exceeded only by 
Germans, Italians, and Poles. One fifth of the Czechs hve in the 
cities of Chicago, New York, and Cleveland. Chicago’s Mayor 
Cermak, like a score of other mayors of his time, was a Czech; a plaque 
on his birthplace in Kladno (near Prague) bears his last words, “I’m 
glad it was me instead of you,” spoken as he lay dying of wounds 
an assassin intended for President Roosevelt. 

The states with the highest Czech and Slovak population are, in 
order, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, Nebraska, 
and Texas. • Czech Americans have constituted one fourth of the 
population of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; one seventh of Cleveland; one 
eighth of Gary, Indiana, and of Omaha. In general, Slovaks are 
massed in industrial states and Czechs predominate in farming states, 
and both are grouped in the same urban centers — Chicago, Cleveland, 
and New York. As farmers, the Czechs outnumber all other Slavs 
and are found principally in Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Organizations. The Czech and Slovak fraternal organizations play 
a very important part of the immigrant culture pattern. Not only 
have they provided financial assistance in times of death, stress, and 
sickness, but they have also appropriated considerable amounts for 
specific movements in our national life, business undertakings, peri- 



odicals, libraries, and schools. Their numbers constantly vary, as 
some are formed within each decade and some, again, disappear or 
fuse with others. In 1933 there were, for example, eighteen fraternal 
organizations of the Czechs in America — ^ten Catholic and eight “Free- 
thinking.” The Slovaks are represented by some forty fraternal 
organizations, mostly religious, whose membership is limited to Roman 
or Greek Catholics or Protestants; only five or six are of “national” 
character, accepting members from various Christian denominations; 
some are purely local. Several American fraternities permit the use 
of the Czech or Slovak language in their lodges, among them the 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Elks, Knights 
of Columbus, Catholic Knights of America, Eastern Star, Masons 
(as the Klub Bobrovsky, Bohemian Masonic Club of Chicago). 

The first Czech benevolent and educational society, called the 
First Czecho-Slavonian Society in America, was organized in 1850, 
with headquarters at 14 City Hall Place, on the site of the present 
municipal building in New York City. It disbanded a year or two 
later. The second fraternal society, best known under the abbrevi- 
ated letters CSPS (the Czecho-Slovak Protective Society), founded 
three years later in St. Louis, Missouri, has survived until today as a 
nonsectarian and liberal organization, although it has merged (after 
its existence of seventy-nine years), with four other similar, though 
smaller, brotherhoods, under the name of the Czechoslovak Societies 
of America (CSA). 

Peter V. Rovnianek organized, in 1890, the first Slovak fraternal 
organization in America, the National Slovak Society of the United 
States. It has become the model for all other Slovak organizations, 
as well as for those of the Ruthenians and Yugoslavs, and proudly 
affirms that it was first among all foreign societies of the United States 
to adopt a paragraph in its bylaws to the effect that every person 
who has been a member for six years must become an American 
citizen. It counts altogether some 50,000 members and represents the 
more liberal sections of the Slovak immigrants. 

The Catholic Slovak organizations, especially the First Slovak 
Roman Catholic Union (Jednota), with some 100,000 members, has 
given birth to many religious schools, literary and dramatic societies, 
sports clubs, and the like. The Slovak organizations number nearly 
300,000 members, adults and children, males and females, in thousands 
of subordinate units of assemblies, and command assets totaling forty 
milli on dollars. In fact, every third American Slovak is a member of 
one or more branches of such organizations. The Protestants are 



grouped around the Evangelical Union of Pittsburgh, the Independent 
National Slovak Society of New York, the Slovak Calvinistic Presby- 
terian Union of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, and other such organiza- 
tions. It is of interest that the Czech Protestants have no fraternal 
organizations such as the Slovaks. 

Conmmnal life. The impact of the process of “Americanization” 
has been the least elfective among the Czech Americans of Texas, 
where many of them, although of the third American-born generation, 
can still speak Czech. A careful picture of this situation has been 
provided by Dr. Henry R. Maresh: ® 

There are approximately 300,000 Czechs in Texas; first, second, and 
third generations, perhaps equally divided, from Bohemia and Moravia, 
and less than one per cent from Slovakia. About seventy per cent are 
Catholics, twenty-five per cent Protestants, and the rest Liberals or Free- 
thinkers. There are 252 Czech communities, a community designated as 
such has a local lodge of some benevolent organization, or a parish, or 
a church. In these communities there are loi Catholic churches; 20 
churches and 41 congregations and missions of the Evangelical Unity of 
the Czech Moravian Brethren. The Southwest Bohemian Presbytery has 
9 churches and 4 other congregations. The Freethinkers have a state 
charter; the supreme lodge is in Houston and there are four other local 
lodges. There are several benevolent, insurance and protective organ- 
izations. The largest is the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of 
Texas (SPJST), with 162 local lodges. Then there are the Catholic 
Union of Texas Women (KJZT), the Catholic Union of Texas (KJT), 
The Catholic Worker, The Society of St. Isidor, The Fraternal Union of 
the Czech-Moravian Brothers and the Slav Mutual Insurance Society. 
The Czech newspapers are: Texan, Svoboda, Novy Do^nov, Nasinec, 
Czechoslovak, Vhtmk, Texasky Rolntk, Bratrske Listy, and Husita. 

We have in Texas an enormous number of Czechs who are highly 
respected in the state. In the Old Country these people belonged to the 
middle-class and most of them were land-owners and they still are land- 
owners here. They came here in the decades beginning with 1 850, to and 
including 1900. They left their land of birth primarily on account of 
religious and political oppression. From these immigrants we have a vast 
number of native born, first, second and third generations. Texas was 
then and still is essentially a rural country, distances are great and people 
live far apart. These people were neither colonizers nor adventurers. 
Their code was based on the principle of tending to your business and 
letting the other man tend to his. However, if one of them was convinced 
that he was in the right, he would defend his conviction or else die fight- 

5 An extract from material prepared for the forthcoming Ready Handbook of 
Texas, Texas State Historical Association, 2 vols. See also E. Hudson and H. R. 
Maresh, Czech Pioneers of the Southwest, Dallas, Texas, Southwest Press, 1934. R. T. 
Kutak, The Story of a Bohemian- American Village, Louisville, Kentucky, 1933, is 
a good study of social persistence and change in a Czech settlement in Nebraska. 


ing for the principle. Thus we may say that as these people were made 
of suitable material and were planted in the right kind of soil, they 
became typical Texans. 

With the exception of the Bibles and prayer books, and of these they 
brought plenty, they were cut off from all sources of information, current 
events, as well as all facilities of education. In seeking freedom, they came 
to a free country, but a country totally undeveloped. They were un- 
familiar with the language, nobody understood them and neither did they 
understand anyone. Consequently, they had to learn their deeds by roots 
from the pages of experience and history. 

With no tangible means for enlightenment and defense, the natural 
tendency was to grouping and isolation, and many of these people 
changed their names to read as those of other nationalities. From these 
isolated groups sprang the benevolent organizations. All the social devel- 
opment was centered around and emanated from these organizations. In 
one sense, this influence was profoundly beneficial, in that it tended to 
preserve the inherent qualities of these people, namely, conservation of 
soil, thrift, industry and stability~the essential qualities of any people who 
help to build a state. It is estimated that ninety-five per cent are home- 
owners. In another sense, this grouped isolation hindered initiative and 
fostered educational dormancy. However, we know from experience 
that it takes more than one generation to change the basic qualities of an 
individual. This is evidenced by the native-born generations who are 
noticeably drifting into the white collared and professional classes and 
are unobtrusively interwoven with and are designated as Americans. This 
entire group has maintained to the present day, a period of ninety years, 
an economic and social order based upon the freedom of all individuals 
to think, to work, and to express themselves as they desire—an order in 
which each individual is free to improve his own circumstances through 
his own efforts so long as he does not in so doing transgress the rules of 
fair play or encroach upon similar rights of others. They are more con- 
cerned that men shall be free than they are that men shall be equal. From' 
a sociological standpoint, it is evident that these people received from, as 
well as contributed to, the social and economic structure of democratic 

Religion and education. Dr. Capek estimates that 50 per cent of 
the Czechs in America have seceded from their old-country Catholic 
faith. It cannot be inferred, however, that the Czechs are irreligious. 
Hussitism, Protestant traditions, and the resentment against the 
Austro-Hungarian oppression in which the church participated are 
the underlying causes. When the more liberal-minded Czechs landed 
here, they pagerly grasped the opportunity of giving up all pretensions 
to Catholicism, for, while at home, their economic and social positions 
were frequently based upon outward conformance. Upon their 
arrival in America, these Czechs drifted into a kind of irreligion, 
known as 'Tree Thought.” Today some 480,000 Czechs are Free- 



thinkers, and the early fraternal organizations referred to above were 
also the first freethinking organizations. When these Freethinkers 
had difficulties with the Catholic clergy about their burials, they 
founded in 1877 their famed Czech National Cemetery in Chicago 
(Crawford Avenue), which covers 130 acres. The organization has 
also become one of the main supporters of the cultural activities 
of the Czechoslovak immigrants in America, donating during the 
fifty years of its existence more than $120,000 to the Czech Free- 
thinking schools and for other cultural and humanitarian purposes. 
It also maintains a Czech orphanage in Chicago. The League of Free- 
thinkers, founded in 1 907, unites the state committees and local organ- 
izations. The Slovaks followed this inclination to markedly less 
extent. Some 300,000 Slovaks are Catholic (with 180 churches), 

57.000 Protestants (130 churches), 60,000 Greek Orthodox, and 

160.000 “without confession.” 

The Czech and Slovak educational agencies in America are divided 
between freethinking and religious institutions. Most of the free- 
thinking (“without confession”) schools (some eighty-eight Czech 
and eight Slovak) are attended by pupils after their school hours in 
public schools. The majority of Catholics, on the other hand, support 
their own parochial schools. In either type of school the Czech or 
Slovak language is a required subject. 

Nevertheless, Catholicism still claims at least 50 per cent of the 
American Czechs. There are some 120 Czech parishes, with 104 
parochial schools, most of them located in Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. 
The weekly, Friend of Children, published by the Czech Benedictines 
in Chicago, is used in many of these schools. Some parishes have two- 
year commercial schools of junior and senior high schools. Nearly 
all Slovak schools belong to the CathoHcs; nearly 41,000 Slovak 
Catholic children are attending 1 1 8 parochial schools, taught by Sisters 
of the Order of Cyrillus and Methodius of Danville, Pennsylvania. 
The Slovaks can also boast of three high schools, all founded since 
1922: the Slovak Girls’ Academy, housed in a fine building in Dan- 
ville, Pennsylvania; the Benedictine High School for Boys, Cleveland; 
and the Girls’ Academy at Pittsburgh. The Czech Catholics sup- 
port the St. Procopius College at Lisle, Illinois, administered by the 
Czech Benedictines of Chicago, the only Czech College in America, 
and three academies, one in Chicago, one in Omaha, and one in 
Shiner, Texas. Especially successful have been the efforts of the 
Chicago Catholics to teach the Czech language in three-hour weekly 
lessons by radio. The Protestant churches also conduct their church 


schools during the weekdays, or on Saturdays or Sundays, and in some 
cases during the summer. The Slovak Lutherans can even boast of 
their own day schools in Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. 

It is also of interest that the Czech language is taught, as a regular 
subject, in two public high schools of Illinois (Chicago and Cicero), 
as weU as in a number of Texas pubhc schools, by the pupils of 
Professor E. Micek who has taught Czech and Czech literature in the 
University of Texas for a number of years. The Council of Higher 
Education of Chicago, founded in 1902, helps the students of Czecho- 
slovak origin to finish their college and university studies by lending 
them money without interest. 

The Sokols. One of the finest adult education organizations, which 
has been imitated and adopted by numerous other immigrant groups, 
is the Sokol Gymnastic organization. Sokol (the falcon), according 
to the interpretation of the leaders of the movement, is the bird which 
by its swiftness and energy symbolizes the active, vigorous, strenuous 
Spartan life — ^the ideal of Sokol societies. The falcon, flying high in 
the free skies, is also the symbol of freedom, and every Sokol dreams 
of the permanent national freedom of Czechoslovakia. This twofold 
symbolism characterized its philosophical foundation in nationalism 
and its practice — ^the development of physical grace and strength. 
Annual conventions and public performances are held. The Czech 
Gymnastic Union, founded in Chicago in 1878, has its branches in 
nearly every Czech settlement in America, a number of which also 
boast of their own Sokol houses. Recently, the Czech and Slovak 
Unions have united to form the Sokol Gymnastic Federation of 
America. The American Sokol is published monthly for all members. 
In addition, there are Catholic Slovak Sokols, Catholic Czech Sokols, 
Slovak and Czech “Orel” (Eagles), Workingmen’s Sokols, and one 
communist Federation of Czechoslovak Workingmen’s Gymnastic 
Unions. The influence of these organizations on the development of 
the immigrant mentality and communal relations cannot be over- 

The press. The first Czech weekly publication in America was 
issued in Racine, Wisconsin, in i860, and was followed later by the 
first Slovak periodical, the Amerikansko-Slovenske Noviny (Arner- 
ican-Slovak News), of Pittsburgh. In 1944, the Slovaks had four 
daily papers and the Czechs six; some forty-four were weeklies or 
semiweeklies, and some twenty, fortnightlies or monthlies. Two 
thirds of them were published in Czech and the rest in Slovak, though 
some printed articles in both Czech and Slovak 



The Slovak press is concentrated in the East, with fourteen peri- 
odicals, chiefly in Pennsylvania, while the Czech press flourishes 
chiefly in the Middle W^est. Other publications, not included here, 
are devoted to special causes or interests such as: agriculture, athletics, 
collegiate life, education, religion, or fraternal societies. In general, 
the Czech and Slovak press is split along religious and fraternal lines. 
In the case of the Slovak press, however, this dividing line was com- 
plicated by the opposition of some Slovak periodicals toward the 
constitutional form of Czechoslovakia up to 193^’ subsequently 
by their support of the “free” Slovakia under Germany, a matter 
which really has nothing to do with conditions in America but repre- 
sents a kind of activity characterizing many of our immigrants bur- 
dened with a marked “inferiority complex” and anxious to overcome 
it by trying to influence the course of politics in the “old country .’ 

Political divisions. The “autonomist” group of Slovak Americans 
contributed, partly at least, to the downfall of Czechoslovakia by 
their continued agitation and by their help to the Slovak Catholic 
separatists who eventually turned to Hitler for the realization of 
their aim of “complete” independence of Slovakia from Czecho- 
slovakia. The agitation hinged on the Pittsburgh agreement, dating 
back to 1918, when the first World War was already approaching its 
end. The representatives of a number of American-Czech societies 
met at Pittsburgh, June 30, together with the representatives of several 
Slovak-American societies. They invited the chairman of the Czecho- 
slovak National Council, Professor Thomas G. Masaryk, who was 
then staying in the United States, to the meeting. The representa- 
tives of A7nerican Czechs and Americcm Slovaks expressed their opin- 
ion as to the structure of the future Czechoslovak state in a protocol, 
known as “the Pittsburgh Agreement,” signed by Dr. Masaryk as a 
political program. The Slovak autonomists of America and of 
Czechoslovalaa, however, regarded the Pittsburgh agreement as a 
constitutional act. This wing of American citizens considered itself 
justified in its organized interference in the internal politics of Czecho- 
slovakia. These divergent viewpoints on the current of European 
politics are still much in evidence. The efforts of Czechoslovakia’s 
president. Dr. Eduard Benes, to organize the American Czechs and 
Slovaks during World War II (as did his predecessor. Professor 
Masaryk, at the end of World War I) for the restoration of Czecho- 
slovakia, was supported by the Czech National Alliance, the 
Slovak National Alliance (mostly Protestants), and the National 
Alliance of Czech Catholics. These organizations united in April, 


1939, in the Czechoslovak National Council of America. The organ- 
ization was ably administered by Joseph Martfnek and Vojta Benes, 
but was bitterly opposed by a small but vociferous dyed-in-the-wool 
group of “autonomists” fused in the Slovak League of Pittsburgh, and 
dominated by Catholics and by its president, Josef Husek, who pre- 
ferred, as they claimed, “Hitler to Benek” ® 

Contributions to American Life 

It is not enough to mention only the outstanding names of Czecho- 
slovak Americans. It is important to remember that there are hun- 
dreds of thousands of immigrants whose names will never be men- 
tioned in print but who, like the “unlmown soldier,” deserve to have 
monuments built to them. Is there a steel building in America built 
without the direct or indirect help of a Czechoslovak worker, whose 
sweat, brawn, skill, and manual labor — raw perhaps, but fresh, vital, 
strong — ^have helped to build America? How many acres of land in 
Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, the Dakotas, Minnesota, and other 
states have the Czechs cleared and cultivated? How many of these 
“hewers of wood and drawers of water” have sacrificed their bones 
and lives m industrial accidents and thus helped to advance our civi- 
lization? By their contributions these immigrants have proved their 
right to a place in the sun by their tenacity and accomplishment. 
After all, why should not the Czech be sane and strong, with tradi- 
tions of learning and civil and rehgious freedom through five cen- 

Indissolubly interconnected with their physical contributions are 
those made in cultural fields. In some cases, the individual immigrants 
have made their contributions by weaving various aspects of their 
Czech and Slovak culture into the culture pattern of America. In 
other cases, they have made their contributions as American citizens 
and descendants of Czech and Slovak parents. This fact is very 
important, as it demonstrates that their background was helpful to 
them in their effort to rise in the social scale of America. The roster 
of these distinguished individuals is the best proof of the falsity of the 
arguments of the so-called “Nordic” theorists who proclaim that 
only the northern peoples of Europe have been valuable and useful 
to America. 

Of the many Czechoslovak Americans who won renown in the 
field of science, one of the most outstanding was the late Dr. AJes 

8 The Czechoslovak National Council was supported in 1944 also by the Carpatho- 
Russian Council of Cleveland under Jan Duirdc. 



Hrdlicka of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum, 
Washington, D. C. His work in the fields of anthropology and 
related sciences placed him in the front rank of the social and biolog- 
ical scientists. He was honored in 1937 by the National Institute of 
Immigrant Welfare for his significant contributions to American life. 

The Czecho-Slovak strain in the United States racial symphony 
has contributed drama, music, humor, and education, as well as hard 
work. Antonin Dvorak’s famous symphony, “From the New 
World,” and his “American Quartet,” show today’s concert-goers 
and radio listeners what music yesterday’s grateful Czech could extract 
from SpillviUe, Iowa. Mutt and Jeff packed chuckles into miles of 
comic strips from the brain of a Czech immigrant’s artist son. Bud 
Fisher. Everyone who whistles a tune from “Rose Marie” and other 
scores of Rudolf Friml’s light operas and compositions pays tribute to 
the Czech composer whose tuneful melodies are a part of our musical 
heritage. Frederick Dvonch, Slovak-American violinist and com- 
poser, is a member of the faculty of the New York College of Music. 
Jaro S. Churain’s musical abilities make him one of Hollywood’s 
pioneers in musical arrangements for motion picture musical “drops” 
of Warner Brothers productions. Madame Jarmila Novotna, one of 
the brightest stars of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, shone 
also on Broadway in 1944 as the star of “Helen Goes to Troy.” 
Rudolph Myzet has appeared in numberless Hollywood productions 
since the early “twenties.” Vera Hruba Ralston was starred in such 
productions as “The Lake Placid Serenade” by the Republic Pictures 
Corporation in 1944. Frank Drdlik has been associated with Holly- 
wood’s best productions as art director from the very beginning. 

A Czech architect, Joseph Zvak, raised the Gothic pinnacles of St. 
Patrick’s Cathedral above New York’s Fifth Avenue. Czech actors, 
actresses, and ballerinas have had their day on Broadway and in Holly- 
wood. Thelma Votipka was one of the most frequently featured 
artists of the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York in 1944. 
Emil Kosa, Sr., and Emil Kosa, Jr., have been connected with the 
art department of Fox Motion Picture Company and are outstanding 
portrait artists in their own right. Fred Sersen’s experimentation in 
“special effects” earned twice for him one of the most valuable prizes 
of Hollywood — the famed “Oscar.” Miss Bozena Slabey, as a sing er 
of folk songs, a concert violinist, and a lecturer on Czechoslovakia’s 
peasant art, toured and lectured in all parts of the United States. 

One of the best-known Czech sculptors is Albin Polasek, head of 
the sculpture department of the Chicago Art Institute, whose creations 



are scattered throughout the world and who produced four busts for 
New York University’s Hall of Fame. Jan Matulka of New York 
won one of the Pulitzer prizes as an artist-painter and has illustrated 
collections of Czech fairy tales. 

The list of prominent physicians, surgeons, and other professional 
men is so long that it can hardly be touched on here. Dr. Henry R. 
Maresh is one of the best physicans of Houston, Texas, as well as a 
well-known historian. Dr. Edward E. Novak, of New Prague, 
Minnesota, is also a member of the Board of Regents of the University 
of Minnesota. F. G. Novy discovered preventive compounds for 
cholera and typhoid fever. 

The Czech- American public was surprised to learn from Life in 1938 
that Admiral Claude G. Bloch of the United States Navy is of Czech 
parentage. Franz Werfel, considered one of the greatest German 
writers and the author of such books as The Song of Bernadette, 
though a German by adoption, was born in Czechoslovakia and prefers 
today to be known as a Czech. 

Dr. Robert J. Kemer, professor of modern history in the University 
of California, has published numerous studies in the field of Slav 
history. At the same institution, Boyd A. Rakestraw, associate direc- 
tor of the Extension Division, has promoted all ramifications of public 
adult education throughout the state. Dean Charles Pergler of the 
National University, Washington, D. C., was a prominent figure in 
the movement for Czechoslovakia’s independence during World 
War I. F. E. Hanzlik is dean of the Teachers College, University of 
Nebraska. In Illinois, Otto Kemer, former attorney general of the 
state of Illin ois, in November, 1933, had the distinction of being the 
first American Czech appointed to the federal judgeship. 

Adolph J. Sabath has been a member of Congress since 1907. Roy 
A. Vitousek was the speaker of the territorial house of representatives 
of the Hawaiian Islands. Charles Henry Chemosky was county 
judge of Fort Bend County (Texas) from 1916-1920 and has done 
remarkable work as president of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the 
state of Texas. 

Joseph Bulova, a Czech watchmaker, is known to every radio 
listener as president of the Bulova Watch Company. The largest 
independent manufacturer of cigars in the world is a Slovak, Morton 
Edwin, of New York. F. J. Vlcheck, starting from “nowhere,” built 
up the Vlcheck Tool Company of Oeveland. 

Several Czechs head the hierarchy of the Catholic Church — 
Monsignpr Reverend Oldrich Zlamal of Cleveland; J. B. Dudek, 


Chancellor of the Diocese of Oklahoma and Knight Commander of 
the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (also author of numerous articles 
on Slavic philology) ; the Right Reverend Louis B. Kucera, Bishop of 
Lincoln (Nebraska), and others. 

Many names of towns in the farming states will testify forever that 
the Czech pioneers founded them: Moravia, Protivin, Pilsen, Tabor, 
Varina (Iowa) ; Hostyn, New Tabor, Pilsen, Palacky, Voda (Kansas) ; 
Kalin, Libuse (Louisiana); Beroun, Homolka, Komensky, Moravia, 
New Prague, Tabor (Minnesota) ; Jelen, Loucky, Prague, Slovania, 
Butka (Nebraska); Malin (Oregon); Jolub, Kovar, Novohrad, 
Zizkov, Moravia, Pisek, Vysehrad (Texas) ; Krok, Marek, Melnik, 
Mount Tabor (Wisconsin); and others. The Slovaks founded 
Slovaktown (Arkansas) and Slavia and Masaryktown (Florida) . 

Joseph S. Roucek 

Claims are frequently advanced that among the crew on Columbus’s 
caravels were some sailors from the Yugoslav Dalmatian coast. Al- 
though facts to prove the claims are wanting, not so are hopes that the 
rich library of Dubrovnik might some day yield the substantiating 
facts. One of the sailors returned, according to tradition, having 
acquired a large fortune in gold and treasure. He built the palace 
known from the name of its later owners as the palace of Bonda in 

It can be conjectured from the single word Croatan, found on a tree 
at the site of Virginia’s “lost colony,” that a Croatian ship calling at this 
first permanent settlement in America left its name engraved on the 
tree, or even hurriedly salvaged the entire settlement from the destruc- 
tion that was taking place. The ship apparently met destruction 
later, as no trace was ever found of the colonists in question. What- 
ever the facts, an island in the group off the coast of North Carolina 
is called Croatan in deference to this historical name. This conjecture 
constitutes the first recorded history linking America with Yugoslavs 
or their Croatian branch. 


The first known mass movement of the Yugoslavs to America dates 
back to the early eighteenth century. After the unsuccessful and 

1 J. Bjankim, “Yugoslavs in the United States,” in A. W. Vanek and J. E. S. Vojan, 
Eds., First All-Slavic Singing Festival Given by United Slavic Choral Societies^ pp. 
95-99. - Chicago: National Printing and Publishing Company, 1934. 



bloody uprisings of the peasants in Croatia and Slovenia against their 
feudal lords in 1573, and the Reformation movement, ruthlessly 
crushed by the edict of the Archduke Ferdinand in 1598, many 
Yugoslavs found refuge in Prussia, having gone there on the invitation 
of ^ng Frederick William, who favored the Protestants. A century 
later their descendants decided to find a haven in the new world. 
During the first half of the eighteenth century they set their sails 
toward America. One group, composed of 1,200 persons, went to 
Georgia. There they settled on the right bank of the Savannah 
River at the confluence of a small creek, which they named Ebenezer. 
Pastors Gronau and Bolcius led the group. These early immigrants 
introduced the cultivation of the silkworm in Georgia, an industry 
engaged in by many in their original native land before they moved 
to Prussia. Soon after the Civil War the settlement was abandoned, 
and only the cemetery remains as a monument to this once thriving 
colony of the first Yugoslav settlers in America. 

Dalmatian sailors were world renowned for their seamanship, cour- 
age, and love of adventure. Long before the discovery of America, 
their ships navigated all the knotyn sea routes. It is recorded that a 
Dalmatian ship sailed to America by way of India at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, and we know that Dalmatians were old- 
timers in California when the first Yankees got there. A vessel from 
Dubrovnik entered New York harbor around 1790 shortly before the 
subjugation of the Old RepubHc. 

A port of call for most of the Yugoslavs sailing to the new world 
was New Orleans. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, this 
was their chief settlement in America. There they engaged in the 
oyster industry, controlling it for many a decade. Thence they 
wandered throughout the length and breadth of the country. When 
gold was discovered in California, they joined the famous gold rush. 
Most of the Yugoslav forty-niners set out from New Orleans. They 
advised their relatives and friends in the old country of the fortunes 
made in the “shiny metal,” with the result that several ships sailed 
from their native shores carrying new prospectors to the Golden 
Gates. California has always had a special attraction for Dalmatian 
imm i gr ants; climatically and topographically it reminds them strongly 
of their own lovely Adriatic coastland. 

Pioneers in California. Yugoslav immigrants are reco^zed today 
as the pioneers in apple, grape, and fishing industries in California 
and along the whole Pacific coast. It is recorded that one “Mark 
Rabasa, apple dealer,” a native of Dalmatia in Yugoslavia, was the 
first man engaged in the apple business in Watsonville, Pajaro Valley, 


in the 1870’s. This date marks the beginning of this universally 
known industry. Jack London, in his novel The V alley of the Moon, 
describes at length and with great admiration the result of the “tender- 
ness and love” that transformed the 12,000 acres of the Pajaro 
Valley into “one of the most wonderful demonstrations of the United 
States.” He calls the valley “New Dalmatia” and credits “those first 
rugged Adriatic Slavs” for making it “Apple Paradise.” 

Missionaries . Meanwhile, other Yugoslav immigrants appeared in 
other parts of the United States. A Croatian Jesuit, Baron Ivan Tara), 
died in New Mexico in 1640, while a missionary among the Indians 
there. Many others followed, most noted among them being Ferdi- 
nand Konscak, who came to Mexico in 1730, and is better known 
under the Spanish adaptation of his name as Gonzales. Many years 
of his pioneering work brought him to California, the result being 
the first known geographical map of lower California. Joseph 
Kundek, another prominent Croatian missionary, arrived in 1838; he 
was active in the Middle West and founded there several cities, among 
which are Ferdinand and Jasper in the state of Indiana. About this 
time Slovene missionaries were concentrating their work chiefly in 
the Northwest. In 1830, first among them arrived Frederick Baraga, 
who devoted his whole life to missionary work among the Indians in 
northern Michigan and Wisconsin as well as in eastern Minnesota. In 
1853 he was consecrated a bishop of the newly founded Marquette 
Diocese. The state of Minnesota, in honoring him, named one of 
its counties after him. 

The Slovene followers of Baraga were many and of no minor moral 
and cultural caliber, as not less than four of them achieved the high 
honor of becoming bishops (Ignatius Mrak, Ivan Vertin, Jacob 
Trobec, and Ivan Stariha). 

Mass immigration. As already noted, the first mass immigration 
of Yugoslavs was impelled by rehgious motives. Another stream of 
immigrants started to flow to the shores of America after 1890. 
Serbia proper contributed very few, which was true also of Macedonia 
and Montenegro. The bulk came from the provinces formerly be- 
longing to Austria-Hungary. 

Occupations. These Yugoslavs found employment in heavy in- 
dustries in the liast and Middle West, although a majority of them 
had been agriculturists in their homeland. Gradually some of them 
changed to various trades; but the majority are still working in mines, 
steel industries, iron works, and quarries. They are masons, long- 
shoremen, and lumbermen. Only some Slovenes, located in the 



Northwest, chose farming as their occupation. The “old” immi- 
grants, on the other hand, still raise apples and grapes and are inter- 
ested in fishing. Large fleets of fishing boats in San Pedro, in 
Monterey, and on the Columbia River alone represent an investment 
of several millions of dollars and are the property of these immigrants. 
The largest sardine, tuna, and mackerel cannery in California belongs 
to the Yugoslavs. Most famous restaurants in San Francisco, until 
recently, were owned and operated by them. 

Numbers. According to Yugoslav authorities, there were in 1 944 
not less than 700,000 Yugoslavs in the United States who were either 
bom in Yugoslavia or were of the second generation. The figure 
reaches 1,000,000 if we add the third generation, the original immi- 
grants accounting for somewhat less than one third of this total. 

Of this total, again, the Croatians number about 500,000, or some- 
what more; the Slovenes about 300,000 or somewhat less; and the 
Serbs the remaining 200,000. They settled in almost every state in 
the Union, but chiefly in Illinois, Minnesota, California, Nebraska, 
Iowa, and Colorado. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Religious divisions. Because of religious differences — ^the Croats 
and Slovenes being Roman Catholics, the Serbs, Eastern Orthodox — 
and of slight differences in the spoken language — ^the Serbo-Croatian 
being slightly, different from the Slovene — ^as well as to an intense 
tribal consciousness, each of the subdivisions of Yugoslavs leads its 
own independent social and cultural existence. The Roman Catho- 
lics, under the jurisdiction of their respective bishops, were separated 
early into Croatian and Slovene groups. The remaining parishes are 
not many. The Serbian Orthodox Church was under the jurisdiction 
of the Russian bishops in America until after World War I, when it 
was organized as a separate diocese with a bishop of its own for the 
United States and Canada, who was nominated by the Patriarch of 
the same church in Belgrade. The see of the Serbian Orthodox 
Bishop is Libertjwille, Illinois. 

The first Yugoslav church was founded in Brockway, Minnesota, 
in 1871, by Slovene farmers. At present there are about seventy 
Roman Catholic and about thirty Serbian Orthodox parishes and 
churches, maintamed by Yugoslavs, in America. The Slovene group, 
with about forty-five churches, has invested in them and the attached 
homes for sisters, priests, and schools an estimated amount .of $3,500,- 
000, There are also two Roman Catholic churches of the Greek Rite, 

I 62 


the rites being as in the Orthodox Church, the language used being the 
Old Slavonic instead of the Latin, and, under certain circumstances, 
the priests being allowed to marry. The faith and the tenets are 
exactly Roman Catholic and the supreme head is the Pope in Rome. 
All these churches are centers of the life of the respective group in 
the settlement. 

This fact can be exemplified by the New York settlement.^ Here 
Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes “have sharply defined cultures.” Croats 
and Slovenes are generally Roman Catholic. The Serbs, few in num- 
ber and without a church of their own as have both Croats and 
Slovenes, attend the Russian Orthodox Church, where services are 
conducted in the ancient Slavonic church language. The Slovenes 
also have an auditorium. A Croatian school is affiliated with the 
church on West Fiftieth Street, and others are supported by New 
York Yogoslav societies, which number more than a hundred and 
sponsor cultural, political, and mutual aid programs. The holiday 
most widely observed by Yugoslavs is celebrated on December i, 
anniversary of the formation in 1918 of the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, 
and Slovenes. The feast of Saints Cyrillus and Methodius, who con- 
verted the Slavs to Christianity in the ninth century and translated the 
Scriptures into Slavic, is observed on June 7 by Yugoslavs of both 
Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox faith. Four Yugoslav news- 
papers are pubhshed in New York: Svijet, Croatian daily; Glas 
NarodUf Slovenian daily; Srbski Dnevnik, Serbian daily; Hrvatski List, 
Croatian newspaper issued three times a week. 

Educational activities of various nonsectarian types are many. 
There are some thirty-eight fuU-time parochial schools in the United 
States, half of them belonging to the Croatian and half to the Slovene 
group. Instruction is entirely in English, but the national language 
is an obligatory subject. Some 13,000 pupils are enrolled (8,000 
Slovenes and 5,000 Croats). Only a few nonreligious schools or 
courses for the teaching of Yugoslav exist; the best is in the Slovene 
National Home of Cleveland. 

Social life. Although New Orleans is the oldest existing Yugoslav 
settlement in the United States, the first organization, however, was 
formed in San Francisco, in 1857, as the Slavonian Mutual and Benev- 
olent Society. Only in 1874 the New Orleans Yugoslavs organized 
the United Slavonian Benevolent Association of New Orleans. The 
first organization on the Atlantic coast was founded in New York 

^Federal Writers’ Project, Neto York Tanorama, pp. 112-113. New York: Random 
House, 1938. 


in 1 880 and is now known as the First Croatian Benefit Society. Two 
years later the Slovenes organized their first association, the Inde- 
pendent Society of St. Joseph, in Calumet, Michigan. Thus the first 
four organizations were established in the four extreme points of the 
United States. Today about 250,000 Yugoslavs are members in 
fifteen various national fraternal and insurance organizations; about 
80,000 of these are in the junior branches, composed chiefly of 
American-born Yugoslavs. Several hundred independent benefit 
organizations exist locally in the United States, which, with the 2,700 
branches of the national organizations, bring the total up to nearly 

The Sokol and the literary publishing activities are backed by nearly 
all of the fraternal and political organizations. The largest in number 
are the singing societies, of which there are sixty-five, with two 
federations, a Serbian and a Slovene. About fifty dramatic societies 
and as many “Tamburica” orchestras are active. Physical culture is 
mainly under the aegis of Sokol and Orlovi (Eagles) societies. 
Nearly 200 National Homes are centers of activities in various centers. 

Political divisions. During World War I, the Yugoslavs raUied 
almost without exception under the banners of their leaders in a 
remarkable fight for the freedom and union of Yugoslavia. Thou- 
sands departed to join the Serbian Army, the Yugoslav volunteers, or 
the American Army. But immediately after the war the masses 
reverted to petty politics, a tendency that reached its climax even 
before World War II. The Serbs, represented by the Serbian Na- 
tional Federation of Pittsburgh, and the Slovenes were unwavering in 
their support of free Yugoslavia. Split Croatian personality produced 
such odd phenomena as the newspaper Zajednicar, official organ 
of the powerful Croatian Fraternal Union; part was written in English, 
and it promoted Yugoslav freedom and unity; the other part, edited 
in Croat, felt surprisingly at ease apologizing for Axis Croatia. 
A number of Croatian organizations, as the Hrvatski Domobran 
(Croat Home Defense), with headquarters in Pittsburgh, strongly 
favored Dr. Pavehch’s fascist government. Yet a substantial num- 
ber of United States Croats were anxious to cooperate with Yugo- 
slavia’s govemment-in-exile — a desire that was not fuUy recipro- 
cated by the Serbs. Outraged by Pavelich, who aimed at extir- 
pation of Serbs in Croatia, many Serbs insisted on collective Serb 
responsibility and suggested excluding the Croats from Yugoslavia’s 
resurrection. These lines of division were further intensified by the 
activities of Louis Adamic, typified by his thesis in My Native Land 



(1943) that the govemment-in-exile was represented by the reaction- 
ary elements, unworthy of the cause of Yugoslavia represented by 
Marshal Tito. 

The pTess. The first Yugoslav publication in America, the 
Slttvenska. Sloga, appeared in San Francisco in 1884 and was followed 
by the Napredak of Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1891, and by the 
Amerikanski Slovenec of Chicago in the same year. The latter is still 
in existence, having combined with the local Edinost. Over 200 
publications appeared among the Yugoslavs, lasting from a single issue 
to forty-three years of existence. In 1 944 there were some forty-five 
Yugoslav periodicals in the United States with circulations varying 
from 1,000 to 60,000 copies. The Slovenes have to their credit 
fifteen, the Serbs seven, and Croats the remainder. Of these, eight 
are daihes and most of the rest are weeklies. English pages and sec- 
tions are devoted to American-bom readers, and three are published 
in English only. Most of the newspapers are either organs of political 
organizations or movements, or organs of fraternal organizations, and 
some of the fraternal organizations are also primarily grouped on a 
political, religious, or socio-political basis. Various “Almanacs” are 
a regular yearly feature of most of the newspapers. The press is 
mostly occupied with European politics. 

Contributions to American Life 

The immigrant Yugoslavs have contributed in no small measure to 
American progress, particularly in the fields of science, invention, 
education, and literature. The late Dr. Mihailo Pupin of Columbia 
University is well known for his inventions in long-distance telephony 
and wireless telegraphy.® Nikola Tesla is the inventor of polyphase 
induction motors and alternating power transmission system, devel- 
oped by the Westinghouse Electric Company. Science accords to 
him seventy-five original discoveries, and all electrical machinery 
using or generating alternating current was made possible by him.* 
Dr. Eduard Miloslavich, one of the foremost pathologists in the 
United States, was formerly professor in Marquette University in 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The late Dr. Henry Suzallo, who died m 
1933, was one of the foremost educators in the United States, president 

®See his autobiography. From Immigrant to Inventor, New York: Charles 
Scribner’s Sons, 1927. Sec also A. E. S, Beard, *‘A Serbian- American Scientist — 
Michael Pupin,” in Our Foreign Bom Citizem, pp. 283-289. New York: Thomas Y. 
Crowell Company, 1939. 

^See J. J. O’Neill, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla. New York: Ives 
Washburn, 1944; Beard, “An Electrical Wizard — ^Nikola Tesla,” op. cit,, pp. 284-288^ 



of the University of Washington from 1915 to 1926, and then 
president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teach- 
ing, and a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.® Dr. 
Vecld Victor of San Francisco is considered one of the outstanding 
specialists on venereal diseases in the world of medical science. Frank 
Jaeger, professor of agriculture in the University of St. Paul, Minne- 
sota, has revolutionized the field of the honey industry with his con- 

Louis Adamic, born in Yugoslavia in 1 899, ran away from home at 
the age of fourteen to come to America. Making a living as a sailor, 
ditch digger, and factory hand, he spent his spare time in study. 
After three years he had learned enough Enghsh to take a position 
with a newspaper. During World War I he enlisted and saw serv- 
ice with the American Army in France. Thereafter he turned to 
writing, and has since become one of the most discussed literary artists 
in America, In 1932 his Laughing in the Jungle won him a fellowship 
from the Guggenheim Foundation that resulted in The Native’s 
Return, a moving story of the peasant life and of the author’s impres- 
sions of his country. My Native Land, published at the end of 1943, 
created a series of international discussions with its stand on the con- 
troversy between the forces moving Marshal Tito and General 
Mikhailovich in occupied Yugoslavia. Another literary luminary of 
Yugoslav origin is Stoyan Pribichevich, who was forced to leave 
Yugoslavia in 1932 because of his activities against the dictatorial 
government of King Alexander. He has written numerous articles 
as a member of the editorial staff of Fortune. His World Without 
End remains one of the most readable introductions to the background 
of Balkan and central-eastern Europe. 

Dr. Paul R. Radosavljevich, professor of experimental pedagogy 
in New York University, is best known for his classic Who Are the 
Slavs? (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1919), and his introduction to 
Lay’s Experimental Education (New York; Prentice-Hall, 1936). 
These names, however, do not exhaust the contributions of the 
Yugoslavs to American culture. Prominent in the field of education 
are: Professor Francis Preveden of the universities of Chicago, De 
Paul, and now Minnesota, on philology; Professor Emil Weise, for- 
merly of the Zagreb University, now of Loyola University, on 
pathology and bacteriophage; Professor John Zvetina, Jr., of the 
De Paul and Loyola universities, on history of law; Dr. Hugon 

® According to the report of The New York Times, September 26, 1933, “his 
father was a former sea captain of Czechoslovak birth,” — a mistaken assumption- 



Bren, professor of theology, formerly of Ljubljana and now with the 
Slovene Theological Seminary of Lemont, 111 .; Professor Zivkovic of 
Chicago University; Professor Krunic of the University of Cahfornia; 
Professor Tomic, Dr. I. Altarac, and many others. 

In the field of literature, Ivan Zorman, M. Sojat, Reverend 
Alexander Urunkar, and Vinko Ujcic (pseudonym Georges) are 
leading in poetry, and Dr. A. Biankini and Ivan Mladineo have con- 
tributed to the knowledge of the American Yugoslavs and their 
history. Francis A. Bogadsk, Dr. F. J. Kem, and the late George 
Schubert were compilers of dictionaries. 

In art, Harvey Gregory (Perusek, a Slovene) , Macanovic with his 
yearly exhibits on the Pacific coast and in Chicago, Tanasko Milovic, 
Mr. and Mrs. Gosar, and Vuk Vucinic, among the artist-painters of 
Chicago, are well known. The world-famous Ivan Mestrovic has 
contributed the two monumental Indian statues at the entrance of 
Grant Park in Chicago. 

As composer. Maestro Alexander Savine Djimic has obtained world 
notice; as conductor, Arthur Rodzinski of the Cleveland Symphony 
is prominent. The pioneer organization in presentation of chamber 
music in America, the famous Kdieisel Quartet, had as its original 
member the late Louis Svecenski, also a Yugoslav. In singing, the 
famous Milka Temina of the Metropolitan Opera, at the beginning 
of the century, created an unexcelled tradition in the rendition of 
Wagnerian roles in America. Zinka Milanov, “Yugoslavia’s gift to 
the Metropolitan Opera Company” in 1943, entered the ranks of 
opera under the sponsorship of Arturo Toscanini; she is the wife of 
Predrag Milanov, noted Yugoslav actor and director. In the modem 
art of cinema, among several members of the actors’ guild we fin d 
Laura La Plante (Laura Turk) and John Miljan, and Vorkapic, one 
of the outstanding authorities on the technique of cinematography. 

The father of the oil industry in Texas was Captain Anthony F. 
Lucas, a native Yugoslav, who’ was the first to strike oil in that state. 
World War II brought to America’s shores numerous other outstand- 
ing individuals, particularly Dr. Bojiaar Stoyanovich, international 
lawyer and diplomat, and Dr. Svetislav Sveta Petrovich, whose series 
of short-wave broadcasts out of Boston took the country by the ears 
just before Yugoslavia squirmed out of the Nazi net for a brief period 
of time. A veteran journalist with a captain’s commission in the 
Yugoslav Army, Dr. Petrovich has harangued his country from across 
their borders ever since 1939. Dr. Nicholas Mirkovich, an economist 
and sociologist, was on the faculty of the University of California, 


and another Yugoslav sociologist, Dr. Dinko Tomasic, was a member 
of the staff of several American colleges and universities; both have 
published sociological studies in leading American periodicals. 

Dr. John Slavic was mayor of Cleveland in 1942. The first Gold 
Star mother of World War II was Mrs. Jennie Dobnikar of Cleveland 
(1941), a Slovenian American, whose son died in action aboard the 
destroyer Kearny.^ 

Joseph S. Roucek 

The Bulgarians, who are of Asiatic origin and came from the 
region of the Azov Sea, succeeded in estabhshing themselves in Moesia 
(present northern Bulgaria) in the second half of the seventh century. 
They found many Slav tribes there and combined them in one 
powerful political unit. In the course of time, however, they were 
themselves assimilated by the Slavs; but although they adopted the 
Slav language and customs, the country and the people took the 
name of the Bulgarians. Thus, the Bulgars consist ethnically of 
mixed European and Asiatic elements. Many of them have set- 
tled in Macedonia, now divided among Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and 

The nationahty of the Macedonian population is the subject of 
endless disputes and has a definite relationship to the problems agitat- 
ing American Bulgarians. The name “Macedonia,” when we are not 
speaking of the time of Alexander the Great, came into use about the 
middle of the nineteenth century, when the Balkan nations were 
engaged in their struggle for hberation from Turkish rule, and more 
particularly since 1903. European Turkey was officially divided 
into “vilayets,” and the territory now currently understood under the 
term of Macedonia comprised the vilayets of Kossovo, Monastir 
(Bitolia), and Salonica. Not only the territory but also the nation- 
ality of the Macedonian population is disputed. The nationality of 
the Slav of Macedonia can be determined on the basis of language, 
domestic customs, religion, or existing national sentiment.^ The 
matter is compHcated by the fact that the racial traits and the dialect 
of the Macedonian Slav resemble those of the Bulgars as well as of 

«See Life, XI, No. 19 (November 10, 1941), p. 38. 

1 J. S. Roucek, The Foliiics of the Balkctm, Chapter VIII, “Macedonians,” pp. 138- 
151. New York: McGraw-HiD Book Company, 1939; Christ Anastasoif, The Tragic 
Peninsula, pp. 25^-266. St. Louis, Mo.: Blackwell Wielandy Company, 1938. 


the Yugoslavs. The present chapter assumes that the Macedonians 
are Bulgars. 


The beginning of the Bulgarian immigration to the United States 
dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century. With the 
foundation of a college in Philippopolis by the American (Congre- 
gational) Board of Foreign Missions in i860, and the establishment 
of Roberts College in Constantinople in 1863,^ a number of educated 
Bulgars were induced, around 1875, to come to America to study, 
usually as Protestant students. Many of these returned, however, 
to their native country in 1878-1879, after the liberation of Bulgaria. 

In considering the Bulgarian immigration situation, we must, how- 
ever, bear in mind that the Bulgarian immigrants have originated 
mainly from two separate Bulgarian regions. About 10 per cent of 
these American Bulgarians came from the principality, later the king- 
dom, of Bulgaria, and 90 per cent from the unredeemed province of 
Macedonia.® The immediate cause was the Macedonian revolution of 
1903 and the extensive massacres that accompanied its suppression in 
that year. In fact, up to 1910, most of the Bulgarian immigrants 
came from Macedonia. But before 1913 the Macedonian Bulgars 
arrived in the United States as Turks, and after the division of Mace- 
donia in 1913, as Greek, Yugoslav, or Bulgarian citizens. 

The bulk of the Macedono-Bulgarian immigrants came from one 
small district, the revolted Vilayet of Monastir of southwestern 
Macedonia, where the fiercest fighting took place in 1903. Every 
one of the stone villages there was wholly or partly demolished by 
Turkish cannons. With the crushing of the rebellion, thousands of 
refugees fled to Bulgaria and Serbia, and only a very few, if any, 
dared to pass through Greece on their way to the United States, 
since the Greeks had actively assisted the Turks to crush the insurrec- 
tion. The exodus was encouraged not only by the letters of the first 
refugees, but also by the revolutionary Macedonian leaders (other- 
wise opposed to any emigration), who liked to have somebody speak 
for them in America, and who expected help from those proposing 

2R. H. Markham, Meet Bulgaria, Chapter XIX, “American Uplifters,” pp. 357- 
375. Published by the author, Sofia, 1931; C. Stephanove, The Bulgarians and Anglo* 
Saxondom, Berne: Hapt, 1919. 

3 There is little systematic literature on Bulgarian- American immigrants, with the 
exception of the Reports of the Immigration Commission, 6ist Congress, 2nd session, 
Senate Doc. #633, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1911, Vol. I, “The 
Bulgarians at Home,” pp. 47-48, and passim. 



to go there. Almost all the villages were depopulated; the women 
were left under the care and protection of the elderly men who 

The news from America spread soon to Bulgaria proper and then 
to Eastern Rumelia, and other emigrants followed. The district 
about Tirnovo had long been overpopulated, and emigration began 
across the Danube into Rumania, where the Bulgarians first came into 
contact with Macedonian refugees and were incited by them to leave 
for America. In addition to the economic reasons, the continued 
persecution by the Greek Church and the closing of Greece as a 
market for Macedonian labor also had their effect.* 

The continued Macedonian troubles and the unsatisfactory local 
conditions were bringing in new immigrants. The Balkan Wars of 
1912-1913 produced another wave. On the other hand, when the 
war broke out in 1 9 1 2 in the Balkans, thousands of Macedonian volun- 
teers gathered in New York on their way to Macedonia, where they 
joined the Macedonian Legion of the Bulgarian Army, hoping to 
liberate their country. But as the Bucharest Treaty did not make 
Macedonia free, a number of them, who found themselves now under 
the new Greek and Serbian domination, again crossed the ocean. 
To them must be added some hundreds who had entered and were 
to enter this country illegally, not only from these regions, but also 
from Bessarabia, Dobrudja, Banat, and Thrace. 

Not so many returned home, however, when World War I broke 
out. Only several hundred sailed to join Bulgaria’s colors. Those 
who remained, and especially those who had not become citizens, 
did not fare well in America. Their continued opposition to Serbian 
and Greek rule in Macedonia was looked upon with distrust, and the 
Greek and Serbian colonies also conducted their campaigns against 
them. In 1918, a large Macedonian conference was held in Chicago, 
and resolutions were passed in favor of the liberty of Macedonia. 

In 1918 there were only a few Bulgarian colonies in America, and 
most of these were in central and eastern states and in Ontario 

4 This complicated question is intimately connected with the whole nationalistic 
problem of the Balkans under Turkey. At first the Bulgarians maintained autonomy 
of their national church under the Turks; in the eighteenth century, however, they 
were made subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople— -a Greek. The Turkish gov- 
ernment granted autonomy again to the Bulgarian Church in 1870, and immediately 
thereafter sought to create dissensions in the activities of the Greek and Bulgarian 
churches in Macedonia, hoping thereby to weaken them. The Exarch of Bulgaria 
claimed spiritual authority over all Bulgaria, including Macedonia. The Greek 
clergy and consuls stimulated hostility among the followers of the Bulgarian 
Exarchate and Greek Patriarchate, 



(Canada). For the most part the people were unskilled laborers, 
some 1 0,000 of them finding employment in building the railroad lines 
to the west. But neither the Bulgarian nor the Macedonian came 
here to stay. The Macedonians thought of the day when their 
country would be free again; the Bulgarians centered their hopes on 
returning to their huts and their families with some ready cash. 

Total immigration to June 30, 1943, according to the report of the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service, was 66,006, of whom 61,813 
arrived between 1901 and 1920. As implied above, these figures mean 
httle, since emigration has been large, and since 1931 has exceeded 
immigration. More important are the figures for mother tongue. In 
1910 we had here 18,341 people who gave Bulgarian as their mother 
tongue, 12,835 in 1920, and 66,009 in ig^o. These figures, from 
every point of view, are inaccurate and too low. This can be ex- 
plained by the fact that hundreds landed here illegally; others were 
registered according to their passports, which might have been issued 
by Serbia, Greece, Turkey, or Roumania, or according to their reli- 
gion, which perhaps indicated that they belonged to the Greek group. 
All in all, the Bulgarian authorities compute that the real number 
of the Bulgarian Americans, including the Macedonians, immedi- 
ately after World War I was about double the American official 

The most reUable report is that 60,000 Bulgarians in both America 
and Canada was a maximum figure at any time, and that the United 
States today has more than 35,000 Bulgarians, including those bom 
in Macedonia, Dobradja, and Thrace. In every case, these figures 
include also the second generation, whether born in America or 

Distribution. The Bulgarian Americans today are chiefly found 
in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Illinois. 
They tend to settle in the cities of over 100,000 (Detroit, Rochester, 
Gary, Toledo, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Chicago). 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. In general, according to their occupations, Bul- 
garians are divided into four groups. Only about 500 of them are 
farmers, especially around Sofia, New Mexico (where about a 
dozen families are left), and in Utah, Texas, Michigan, Montana, and 
Tulsa, Oklahoma. It must be noted that approximately 80 per cent 
of the foreign-bora Bulgars, mostly laborers and unskilled workers, 
lived in urban areas in 1940. A third group of the Macedonians are 



small businessmen, owners of small and general stores. Although 
nearly all Bulgars are manual workers, in proportion to their total 
numbers they have an unusually large number in the fourth group, 
namely physicians, journalists, engineers, and bank clerks. 

Literacy. It is surprising to learn that in the question of literacy 
the Bulgarians stand rather high, considering especially the back- 
ground of the Macedonians, who had not had much chance for edu- 
cation under the Turkish rule. Out of 9,325 Bulgars ten years 
of age or over, 1,006 (10.8 per cent) were ilhterate in 1930. 
In this respect, a higher rate of illiteracy is shown by the Poles, 
Czechoslovaks, Yugoslavs, Russians, Lithuanians, Greeks, Albanians, 
Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Armenians, Syrians, Turks, Mexicans, 
and the immigrants from the Azores. This paradoxical phenomenon 
is explained by the facUity with which the Bulgar, like the Russian, 
can learn the alphabet of the English language, the efforts of 
the Bulgar churches and preachers, and by the agitation of radical 
organizations which used to give out printed literature in their 

Religion and education. More than 80 per cent of the people 
of the kingdom of Bulgaria belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church, 
headed by the Bulgarian Exarch. The Bulgarian people had to fight 
for their national church not only under the Turks but also against 
the opposition of the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople; hence it is 
no wonder that the Bulgar is a strong follower of his faith, which he 
identifies with his nationalism. However, the influence of the Amer- 
ican environment has lessened the religious fervor of the Bulgarian 
immigrant. The Macedonian Bulgars are far more faithful to the 
Eastern Orthodox Church than are the Bulgarian Americans from 
the kingdom of Bulgaria, and it is believed that at least three fourths 
of the Bulgarian Americans are still “good believers.” Of interest is 
the observation of a former Bulgarian religious leader that some 75 
per cent of Bulgarian- American mothers are strong supporters of their 
Bulgarian church and that the “bachelors are reckless.” The first 
Eastern Orthodox Bulgarian Church, the Church of St. Cyrillus and 
Methodius, was organized in 1909 in Granite City, Illinois. Since 
then, churches have been bruit in Granite City, Illinois; Detroit, 
Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Steelton, Pennsylvania; Madison, 
Illinois; and Lorain, Ohio. In addition, congregations have been 
organized at Akron, Youngstown, and Canton, Ohio; Duquesne, 
Pennsylvania; Syracuse, New York; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and other 



With the exception of the Madison, Illinois, church, all these 
churches are owned, controlled, and managed by Macedonians and 
are closely affihated with the Macedonian Political Organization of 
the United States and Canada. From 1922 until 1938, the churches 
were administered by the Most Reverend Dr. K. Tsenolf, head of the 
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Mission in the United States and Canada, 
who died November 21, 1938. In that year, the Bulgarian Holy 
Synod created a bishopric for North and South America. Bishop 
Audrey Velitchky was sent to administer the newly created diocese. 
However, in appointing the bishop, the Holy Synod (and the present 
Bulgarian government) did not reckon with the wishes and disposi- 
tion of the American-Bulgarian church congregations, and the latter 
refused to recognize him as their spiritual leader. Of the seven 
Bulgarian churches in America, only two acknowledged Bishop 
Velitchky as head. Some of the reasons for rejecting the bishop are 
that the canon laws of the Bulgarian Holy Synod specifically pre- 
scribe the methods of electing a bishop to a vacant or new diocese. 
Audrey Vehtchky was not submitted as a candidate for election, and 
was, therefore, “imposed” on the American Bulgarian church con- 
gregations by the Holy Synod “under pressure by the present Bul- 
garian regime.” Furthermore, the bishop is suspected by the Mace- 
donian Bulgars “of being an agent of the present dictatorial govern- 
ment, wishing to transplant among the Bulgarian immigrants the aims 
of the Bulgarian regime,” and by a special resolution of the seven- 
teenth annual convention of the Macedonian Pohtical Organization 
held in Buffalo in 1938, Vehtchky was rejected as head of the Mace- 
donian-Bulgarian churches of America. 

A minority of the Bulgars are indifferent to rehgion, and the 
“radicals” are opposed to it. From 5 to 10 per cent of these Bul- 
garian Americans belong to the evangehcal churches, supported by 
the American organizations. These Protestant groups are inter- 
connected with the missionary work carried on by the American 
missionaries in the Balkans. The first attempts to extend this work 
among the Bulgarian Americans were made by P. D. Vassileff, who 
started an evangehcal mission among them in Chicago under Methodist 
auspices (the Tract Society) in the Methodist Church, Monroe Street, 
Chicago, around 1905. He organized some fourteen or fifteen Bul- 
garian famihes and eventuaUy had his group hire a house in which 
they rented out rooms and lodgings, held school, and loaned books. 
The same mission still carries on, although Mr. Vassileff now owns a 
steamship agency in New York Qty. 1944, five Congregational, 


Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist missions existed in the United 
States: Granite City and Madison, Illinois; Chicago and St. Louis, 
Missouri; and Battle Creek, Michigan; and three in Canada. 

The tendency of American-bom youth to give up the cultural 
background of their parents is quite strong. The Bulgarian Amer- 
icans try to preserve their culture pattern by supporting evening 
schools in Steelton, Pennsylvania; Granite City and Madison, Illinois; 
Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit and Battle Creek, Michigan; Toledo, 
Cleveland, and Lorain, Ohio; Homestead and Johnstown, Pennsyl- 
vania; and Lackawanna, New York. There is only one Bulgarian 
church school — ^in Steelton, Pennsylvania. 

The press. The mortality of the Bulgarian- American newspapers 
is as high as among other immigrant groups. Up to 1927 twenty- 
eight newspapers had been started, but only four kept up their pre- 
carious existence. The Bulgars themselves explain this fact by the 
economic crisis since 1930, the slackening of interest in reading in 
Bulgarian, especially by the younger generation, the Bulgarian fac- 
tionalism, and the growing apathy for the Bulgarian cause. 

The first Bulgarian newspaper was the socialist biweekly Borba 
(Fighting, Struggle), founded in Chicago in 1902, which expired a 
year later. It is interesting to note that the editors of the present 
four newspapers are all Macedonians. The Narodna Volya (feople’s 
Will) is a communistic sheet appearing irregularly in Detroit. The 
Robotnicheska Frosveta (Labor Education), a weekly since 1911 in 
Madison, Ilhnois, is expounding the principles of the Socialist-Labor 
group. The Naroden Glas (National Herald), published twice 
weekly in Granite City, Ilhnois, has really no editorial poHcy, but 
aims to unite all factions and discontented elements and is a forum 
for personal letters of accusation, denunciation, and various expres- 
sions. The Macedonian Tribune, a weekly pubfished at Indianapolis, 
Indiana, is the official organ of the Macedonian Political Organization, 
and as such surpasses by far the total number of the other three Bul- 
garian papers in circulation and subscriptions. 

Organizations. Only a few Bulgarian mutual benefit societies 
exist, in such towns as Pittsburgh, Detroit, New York City, and 
Chicago; but for social purposes, these immigrants have twenty-nine 
societies. The groups from particular villages and districts form their 
own organizations, named after their birthplaces in Bulgaria or 
Macedonia; thus we hear of the Dumbeni Society or Kostur Society 
of Madison, Ilhnois. In Homestead, Pennsylvania, where there is a 
beautiful National Bulgarian Home, we find the Father Paisi Society 



(named after the first herald of Bulgaria’s awakening), in addition 
to others. There is no national organization that unites all local organ- 
izations, although several attempts have been made in that direction. 
These organizations gather from time to time for their national cele- 
brations and social evenings (vecerinkas) , where they revive their na- 
tional dances, sing their native songs, eat their native dishes (such as 
paprikash, geuvetch, or piperki — ^potroast with vegetables) and renew 
their boyhood acquaintances. 

The Macedonian issue. Probably more than 70 per cent of the 
Bulgarian Americans from the kingdom of Bulgaria do not get 
excited about any cause, except their localistic interests in the Congre- 
gational, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist missions in the United 
States and Canada. The rest, and especially the quasi-intelligentsia, 
are divided between the “radicals,” opposed to organized religion and 
to the monarchical form of Bulgaria’s government and the various 
factions of the proponents of the Macedonian cause. But the situa- 
tion is somewhat different in regard to the Macedonian Bulgars, over 
80 per cent of whom — as estimated by Mr. Anastasoff — are interested 
in the Macedonian cause. Since 1935 there has been hardly a con- 
vention of the Macedonian Pohtical Organization (M.P.O.) without 
the attendance of from five to six thousand participants. The M.P.O., 
however, must be distinguished from the Macedonian Peoples’ 
League, an outright communistic organization, interested in the Mace- 
donian problem only as a means to an end — that is, to spread com- 
munist tenets among Macedonian Americans. 

The Macedonian Political Organization was originated in 1922 at 
Fort Wayne, Indiana, by a few of the existing Macedonian societies. 
Other cities where the Macedonians have substantial colonies organ- 
ized their locals and were admitted to the Union; it is registered under 
the laws of the state of Indiana with a charter of July 6, 1925. In 
1927, in Akron, Ohio, the Women’s Au xiliar y was established and 
still later the Young Macedonians’ auxiharies appeared. During the 
first three years, the headquarters of the M.P.O., which afiiliates 
thirty-four local organizations in the United States and Canada, was 
at Fort Wa3mie; since then it has been at Indianapolis. At the head 
of this organization is a National Committee elected every year at 
the annual convention, and a Research and Information Bureau main- 
tained at 4060 West Pine Boulevard at St. Louis, Missouri. The aims 
of the M.P.O. were at first “to work in a legal manner for the inde- 
pendence of Macedonia, where all of the nationalities will have equal 
rights and duties.” After 1931, especially after 1933, more and more 



influence of the extremely nationalistic faction of Mihailoff was 
apparent — Mihailoff, the leader of the deadly secret organization, the 
IMRO (The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization), 
which carried on its revolutionary activities in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, 
and Greece, as well as in other parts of Europe, before the Bulgarian 
dictatorship, inaugurated on May 19, 1934, decided to take steps 
against him. Mihailoff, convicted of several murders, escaped to 
Turkey; he represents the wing of the Macedonians who believe that 
they will achieve their aim by “means of arms, bombs, and so on, 
because there is no peaceful means left in Macedonia under Servian 
and Greek rule otherwise to accomplish its purpose.” ® At any rate, 
the American Macedonians are sympathetic with the IMRO and con- 
sider Mihailoff as the champion for Macedonian freedom and inde- 
pendence. While in 193 3 the M.P.O. stiU claimed that “there is much 
confusion in the minds of even well-informed Americans concerning 
(our) Macedonian organizations” because “they are often falsely 
identified with the illegal I.M.R.O.,” in 1934 the M.P.O. extolled the 
IMRO as the “most powerful guardian of the Macedonian ideal and 
undefeatable defendant of our oppressed country. Because of the 
fact that the Macedonian people are deprived of all their human and 
national rights, the IMRO is forced to use revolutionary (armed) 
means — the only right which the governments of Belgrade and Athens 
cannot usurp, namely, the readiness of the Macedonians to sacrifice 
their lives for the salvation of their Fatherland. . . . The final goal 
of the struggle of all Macedonians is the creation of a Free and Inde- 
pendent State of Macedonia — which is now divided among Yugo- 
slavia, Greece and Bulgaria.” 

Bulgarians and World War 11 . The course taken by World War 
II stunned the Bulgarian Americans, and particularly the Macedonians. 
The latter, always hoping for the liberation of their country, saw its 
occupation by the Bulgarian Army, headed by the king fighting on 
the side of the Nazis. But the hopes of the leaders were raised again 
by 1944 when the victory of the United Nations was in sight, and thus 
also in sight the possibility that the principle of the “Four Freedoms” 
might allow the formation of an independent Macedonia. The 
chance, however, was only a slim one, for the granting of the inde- 
pendence of Macedonia would automatically mean the denial of the 
demands of the two allied nations — Greece and Yugoslavia. 

^Anastasoff, op, cit,y p. 278. Let us recall diat a Macedonian, Vlade Georgieff 
Tchernozemsky, wlio murdered King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles, was 
a member of the IMR.O; see Roucek, op, cit,, p. 138. 



Contributions to American Life 

Although the Bulgarians are really the “late” arrivals in this country, 
they can boast of a surprisingly large number of professional indi- 
viduals, of whom only a few can be mentioned here. Dr. Radoslav 
A. Tsanoff, a graduate from Roberts College, has been professor 
of philosophy in Rice Institute, Houston, Texas, since 1914, and is 
considered the most prominent Bulgarian-American intellectual. In 
the same state lives Vangel K. Sugareff, professor of history in the A. 
and M. College of Texas. George Dimitroff is in charge of the 
Harvard Observatory. Professor Ivan Dosseff is a member of the 
faculty of engineering of the University of Minnesota, while Professor 
Popoff teaches chemistry in the University of Iowa. Stoyan 
Christowe’s short stories and articles have appeared in leading Amer- 
ican periodicals; he has also published several books of his reminis- 
cences and of the Macedonian movement. Alexander Georgiev 
invented the condenser used in radios and electric motors. R. S. 
Gerganoff, a prominent architect, resides in Ypsdanti, Michigan. 
Agop Agopoff, New York sculptor, has won several first prizes in 
the American Academy of Design and is the creator of the Will 
Rogers and Firdausi busts. Atans Katchamakoff, a Bulgarian sculp- 
tor, collaborated in the preparation of Monica Shannon’s novel Dobry, 
which was awarded the John Newberry Medal in 1935 “for the most 
distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 
1934.” Nor can we omit mentioning Victor Sharenkov, of the New 
York Public Library, and Boris T. Majdrakov, noted art photographer 
of New York City, Christ Anastasoff’s The Tragic Peninsula (St. 
Louis, Mo.: Blackwell Wielandy Co., 1938), is the best presentation 
of the Macedonian case, covering a history of the Macedonian move- 
ment for independence since 1878. Peter Atseff, secretary of the 
Macedonian Political Organization, is a well-known intellectual of 
the movement. Peter Gruptcheff is a well-known figure in Holly- 
wood circles as secretary to one of the pioneer directors and stars of 
Hollywood, Paul Hurst. Assen Jordanoff, a former Bulgarian war 
ace and “world’s foremost aviation authority,” long ago established 
an outstanding reputation as an aeronautical engineer and for man y 
years has been the consultant of prominent aircraft manufacturers and 
airlines as technical advisor. He is the undisputed ace of aviation 
writers. His books have been sensationally successful, have sold 
hundreds of thousands of copies all over the world, and have been 
bought in quantity by the United States government, the Canadian 


R.A.F., the British R.A.F., the Austrahan R.A.F., and the Russian Air 
Force. Often imitated, never equaled, these have become interna- 
tional best-sellers: Flying and How to Do It (1932), Your Wings 
(1937), Through the Overcast (1938), and the more recent Safety in 
Flight, The Man Behind the Flight, Illustrated Aviation Dictionary 
(pubhshed by Funk & Wagnalls Company and Harper and Brothers). 

Our study would be incomplete without noting the war efforts and 
patriotism of Macedonian Americans. The resolution of the Mace- 
donian Political Organization of the United States and Canada, 
adopted on September 2, 1941, endorsed the Atlantic Charter as the 
basis of European settlement — an important step, considering that 
the Bulgarians are officially at war with the United States. Attention 
should be also directed to the determined war bonds purchase of the 
Macedonian Pohtical Organization. For example, the M.P.O. main- 
tained a qualified issuing agency with the Federal Reserve Bank of 
St. Louis, and the Macedonian Tribune featured war bonds and war 
savings stamps advertisements in every issue. By the end of 1944, 
the value of war bonds bought by M.P.O. members had passed the 
1 1,000,000 mark. 


''New'" Immigration: East European States 

Joseph S. Roucek 

L atvia is a young country politically, but the Latvians are by 
no means a young nation; they have an interesting history and 
traditions and a rich folklore of their own. They are neither Teuton 
nor Slav. Their language, together with the Lithuanian, derives 
directly from Sanskrit and is classified in the Balti branch of the Indo- 
European family of tongues. After World War I, Latvia became one 
of the new republics of the Baltic Sea, having seceded from Russia 
already in 1917, after the Bolshevik overthrow. The Latvian Na- 
tional Council was established in Walka on November 17, 1917, and 
on November 18 the council proclaimed Latvia’s fuU self-determina- 
tion and decided to elect a constituent assembly for the country. 

It is important to note that the Latvian nation achieved its state- 
hood as a result of a vigorous economic, cultural, and political develop- 
ment in the nineteenth century, and for about two years after the 
armistice had to struggle for its independence. The Latvians rebuilt 
their country after World War I without outside help. It is also to be 
noted that the Latvians achieved considerable progress, particularly 
in the field of agriculture and inventions (for example, the smallest 
candid camera in the world, the Minox), and that they are also good 
seafarers and mechanics. 


It appears that the first Latvian came to America with the Swedes, 
for in the seventeenth century Livonia was a province of Sweden. 
At the end of the nineteenth century, more Latvian immigrants came 
to the United States. This group belonged to the seamen who hap- 
pened to land on the shores of this country and decided to stay. The 
new world appealed to them with its wealth of new opportunities. 
To some extent, the economic domination and exploitation of the 




Latvians by greedy German landed proprietors was another cause, 
as well as political and religious restrictions by the Russians. The 
Latvians were filled with a bitter hostility against the German-Baits, 
who constituted an insignificant portion of the population and yet 
were the foreign masters of their soil. They were also hostile to their 
political rulers, the Russians, who sought to “Russify” them, especially 
after the rule of Alexander III (1881-1894), whose government fol- 
lowed the poHcy of “one Czar, one faith, one language, one law.” 

The main stream of the Latvian immigrants came here, however, 
after the Russo-Japanese War. Toward the close of 1905 a violent 
revolution broke out in Riga, where a great industrial population had 
recently sprung up. Spreading rapidly to the country districts, it 
assumed, at least in part, the form of an anti-German war, directed 
primarily against the German squires. On the other hand, interna- 
tional socialism rather than Latvian nationalism was the strong factor 
in the revolt. Latvian nationahsm could find its expression only in 
socialism, which at that time was striving for liberation of oppressed 
nationalities. The uprisings were put down, not without much blood- 
shed and atrocities on both sides. A great many of the active Latvian 
leaders — ^nationalists and socialists — ^were compelled to leave their 
country. Some were accused, and justly so, of being revolutionists, 
socialists, and radicals; others wanted to escape the military service 
enforced by Russia. 

It is hard to estimate the prewar figures of the Latvian immigrants. 
Like the Ukrainians and others, they came here under the classifica- 
tion of German, Russian, or Lithuanian. From the Latvian point of 
view, the number now in the United States is possibly as high as 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Settlements. Contrary to the usual tendency of other American 
immigrants, the Latvians did not tend to form large settlements, 
although they became concentrated in certain states and cities. 
Nearly 50 per cent of the total may be found in five cities: New 
York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and 75 per cent 
are in six states: New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Peimsylvania, 
New Jersey, and California. 

Occupations. Most of the Latvian immigrants were seamen, me- 
chanics, peasants, laborers, and workers of the lower classes, although, 
following the revolution of 1905, numerous educated Latvians joined 
their ranks in America. In spite of the fanning background of a 


majority of these immigrants, the Latvians showed no marked 
tendency to follow that calling here. This tendency is shown by 
the fact that out of 8,744 foreign-bom Latvians in 1930 oiily 672 
lived on farms in rural areas, and 1,257 lived in small towns or vil- 
lages below 2,500 population scattered throughout Massachusetts, 
Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The farming settlements that 
exist are rapidly vanis hi ng. We find, for example, a small Latvian 
community near Easton (in Bucks County), Pennsylvania, which 
supports its Baptist congregation. We find another minor Latvian 
farming setdement between Amsterdam and Albany, northwest of 
Albany, New York, and still another in Wisconsin. The settlement 
near Petersburg, Virginia, has only four or five Latvian families left. 

For the most part, the Latvians in America are good mechanics, 
piano makers (a profession that offers hardly any occupation at all 
today), craftsmen (mostly carpenters), bricklayers, or iron workers. 
Many Latvians have learned the painting trade here, and quite a num- 
ber of them are superintendents of buildings and houses, tailors, 
builders (contractors), and wood-workers. Again, contrary to the 
experiences of most other immigrant groups of eastern Europe, there 
are some foreign-bom Latvians in the professions, in addition to the 
usual sprinlding of pastors, physicians, and surgeons, all of whom, 
however, belong to the group of better-trained people who came here 
following the revolution of 1905. 

Another interesting characteristic of the Latvian immigrants is the 
ease with which they tend to assimilate. It is true that they retain 
to some extent their Latvian traditions and sentiments; but with the 
exception of the radical faction, the Latvian Americans do not inter- 
fere with or criticize the political conditions of their native country 
so extensively as, for example, do the Czechoslovak or Yugoslav immi- 
grants, whose attitude in some cases is extremely bitter and hostile. 
The tendency favoring rapid assimilation is apparent from the official 
United States figures pertaining to the American citizenship acquired 
by the Latvians. In 1930 (the statistics for 1920 are intermixed with 
those of Russia and Estonia), out of 20,673 foreign-bom Latvians, 
12,590 (60.9 per cent) had been naturalized, 2,178 had their first 
papers, 5,405 were aliens, and there were about 500 of whom nothing 
was known. This rate of naturalization surpasses that of immigrant 
groups from most of the eastern and southern European countries, as 
well as of groups from Asia, and even from the Americas. 

There are several explanations for this interesting characteristic. 
As indicated, the Latvians more or less scatter and form no such large 



colonies as do the Czechoslovaks or Poles. As was pointed out, many 
are of a high intellectual level and assimilate easily, especially in respect 
to the English language. Furthermore, a considerable number of 
them arrived here with liberal convictions and, as a matter of principle, 
were international in their outlook. 

Orgmizutions. The trend that favors rapid assimilation is also 
reflected in the lack of national Latvian organizations. The American 
National Latvian League of Boston is the only surviver of the na- 
tional organization that originally had branches in New York, Chi- 
cago, and Philadelphia; it was founded at the end of World War I 
for the purpose of helping the cause of Latvia’s independence. It 
was held together mainly because of the personality of Mr. Jacob 
Sieberg of Boston, one of the most respected of Latvian immigrants. 
The promotion of Latvian cultural background is also carried on by 
the New York Latvian Society. There is also in New York the 
Joint Latvian Committee of representatives of different Latvian organ- 
izations, headed by J. Lenow. The Society of Free Latvians in Phila- 
delphia is one of the oldest Latvian organizations in the United States, 
as is also the Latvian Qub of Chicago, and the Latvian Mutual Aid 
Society of Chicago. However, nearly all Latvian organizations 
are mutual aid societies. The Latvian Educational Society of New 
York represents the Latvian radicals who lean toward communism. 
As a counterpart to the radicals in New York, there exists a Latvian 
Organization of Christian Men. 

Divisions. In general, in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and 
Chicago, the Latvians usually divide themselves socially into four 
groups. The radicals are imbued with socialist and communist no- 
tions and resent the American “capitalistic ways”; they are com- 
posed of moderates and extremists, who again are subdivided into 
a wide variety of factions. They change their allegiances to their 
“isms” from time to time, and as is usually the case with such immi- 
grants, they are accustomed to stand always on the opposite side of 
any established order. They also bitterly oppose the clergy. But 
since the depression, they have been rapidly losing their membership 
as well as financial support which, it is believed, came from inter- 
national sources. The second group consists of purely social organ- 
izations which meet infrequently for the purpose of renewing old 
friendships and talking over old times. Third are the organizations 
that cultivate background by means of lectures, theater performances, 
musicales, and debates. The fourth and possibly the strongest group 
consists of the religious organizations. 


Latvians and World War 11 . After the absorption of Latvia by 
Russia, the leadership of the independence movement was assumed 
in America by Dr. Alfred Bilmanis, Latvian minister to the United 
States, a member of the trio of Baltic ministers who retained their posts 
in Washington. A “radical” faction, of minor numbers but of 
noisy representatives, opposed his activities and favored the “Russi- 
fication” (that is, the “Sovietization”) of Latvia. 

Religion. The background of rehgious strife in their homeland 
retains its influence on Latvian immigrants. The majority of Latvians 
in America are Lutherans, although their organization is not so strong 
as is that of the Baptists which started as a missionary movement in 
Latvia, supported by American and British sources, about i860. 
Among the Latvians there are also Catholics, Bohemian Brothers, and 
a few Greek Orthodox. 

Periodicals. In line with their tendency to assimilate quickly, the 
Latvians in America can boast of but one Latvian newspaper, the 
Amerikas Lataveetis {American Latvian). In Boston appears also a 
monthly Latvian magazine Ausma (The Davm), published by the 
Baptist pastor, J. Daugmanis. In New York appears the monthly 
Drauga Vests (Friends Message), published by the Baptist pastor, 
C. Purgailis. In the past, five other periodicals were published for 
brief intervals, but all have gone out of existence because of lack of 
support by their Latvian constituency. 

There are no Latvian schools in America, although the Latvian 
churches teach religion in the Latvian language, a process which, 
however, is rather ineffective because of the rapid assimilation of 
the American-born Latvians. In literacy, the Latvians r ank higher 
than do most of the immigrants from the countries of central and 
southern Europe. This, too, is because of their ready assimilation, 
together with the selective character of their later immigration. 

Contributions to American Life 

In proportion to their numbers, the Latvians in America have 
contributed their share to the upbuilding of America, not so much 
in the field of culture, but rather in the field of honest work, 
which was so needed during the period of economic expansion. It 
is interesting, however, to note that a Latvian, Martins Bucins, of 
Liepaja or Libau, was one of the first to be killed in the Civil War. 
Among the leading American Latvians was Karlis Ulmanis, the last 
president of Latvia, son of a Latvian farmer, who came to America 
in 1907. During his five-year stay here, Ulmanis was employed in 



different agricultural and dairy establishments, studied at the State 
University of Nebraska, and was offered the post of lecturer in agri- 
culture. In 1913 the Russian Czarist government passed an act of 
amnesty for all those implicated in the revolutionary movement in 
1905, and Ulmanis was able to return to his country, which he helped 
to liberate at the end of World War I. He proclaimed Latvia’s inde- 
pendence on November 18, 1918, in Riga, as the first Latvian Prime 
Minister. In 1934 he was commissioned by President A. Kviesis to 
reform Latvia’s constitution on a basis of national unity and 
cooperative economic equahty, and in 1938 he became president. 

Alfred Kalnins, composer and organ virtuoso, studied in St. Peters- 
burg and was known before World War I in Russia and in his 
country as a composer, musician, and conductor for various singing 
and other musical organizations. He came to America in 1927 and 
served as organist at Christ’s Lutheran Church in New York City. 
He returned to his native land in 1932. Kalnins is known as a com- 
poser of several operas, among them “Banuta,” and “The Islanders.” 

The Reverend John Kweetin, who conducts the Welfare Library 
for the American Tract Society on Ellis Island; Dr. J. Eiman, a pathol- 
ogist, director of the department of pathology at the Abington 
Memorial Hospital, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Emily Podin of the Interna- 
tional Y.W.C.A. of New York City, worked for the cause of Latvia’s 
independence during World War I and were decorated .with the 
Three-Star decoration by the Latvian government for their efforts, 
as were J. Sieberg, pastor J. Graudin, pastor K. Selmer, pastor 
K. Podin, J. Lenow, Charles Carol, and others. For prominent cul- 
tural activities, decorations were also given to H. Lielnors, former presi- 
dent of the Baltic-American Society, and the Baptist pastor, J. Daug- 
man, in Boston. G. Danzis is a well-known social worker in New 
York and was for years president of the Lutheran Parish Council. 
Alexander Siemel, the son of a bootmaker at Liepaja, who started his 
career in a Chicago department store selling women’s stockings, be- 
came field director of an expedition to the wilds of Matto Grosso, 
Brazil, and filmed the native and animal life of the comparatively 
unknown jungles, with sound effects. Julian Duguid tells Siemel’s 
life story in Green Hell and Tiger Man. Samuel Chugerman, bom 
in Latvia, who is, according to his own statement, “what may truth- 
fully be described as a slum product,” published in 1939 Lester F. 
Ward, The American Aristotle, an illuminating introduction to Ward, 
the prophet if not the founder of American sociology. 

Other Latvian Americans engaged in the professional fields in- 


dude: Professor Charles Alaltador Purin, Professor P. Lejins, Dr. J. M. 
Essenberg, Professor J. Ackerman, Dr. August Kyramel, Professor 
A. E. Murniek, Dr. Michael Kasak, Miss Elsa Busch, Mrs. Marina 
Karklina, Mrs. Elza Zebranska, opera singer, Mr. Richard Hermanson, 
Professor Alexander Borovsky, a famous pianist, Mr. Peter Kihss, on 
the editorial staff of the New York Herald Tribune, and Dr. Nicholas 
Michelson. John Dored is a prominent reporter-cameraman of the 
Paramount News, New York. J. M. Plesums, a former Latvian Navy 
olEcer, is an inventor. J. Chucan was an engineer in the building of 
one of New York’s bridges. 

Several Latvians are occupied in the American Merchant Marine as 
captains: J. Jordan, N. Grinins (a former commander of a sub- 
marine), A. Skerberg, and A. Kirschfeldt. Many are mates and engi- 

Joseph S. Roucek 

Although claims have been made that the first Lithuanians arrived 
in New York in the seventeenth century,^ the first major Lithuanian 
immigration began about 1868. 

In 1850 the present territory of Lithuania was seized by famine, 
and a former priest, Petras Svotelis, headed a company of Lithuanian 
immigrants to America. The exodus became more marked after the 
second Polish-Lithuanian insurrection of 1863, which was followed 
by bitter persecution. The famines of 1867 and 1868 and poor 
economic conditions led to the migration of other groups. Some of 
the immigrants settled on New England farms, while many others 
were lured by the agents of the railway companies into Pennsylvania. 
In 1 868, four Lithuanians settled in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and were 
soon followed by others. The newcomers spread to Danville, Sun- 
bury, Mount Carmel, and other mining towns in Pennsylvania. Al- 
though in 1871 and 1872 Danville had the largest Lithuanian colony 
in the United States, numbering about 200 persons, Lithuanians were 
shortly afterward found scattered throughout the whole of the anthra- 
cite region, especially in Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Lackawanna coun- 
ties, and in all the towns of the Wyoming Valley. 

1 According to Simon Daukantas, the Lithuanian historian, the Duke of Courdand 
colonized groups of Letts and Lithuanians, who had fled to Courdand to escape 
serfdom, upon the Spanish island of Guadalupe in 1688; later the English disbanded 
the setdement and transported the colonists to what is now New York — as reported 
by Scnde, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, July 26, 1938. 



In 1874 the Czarist government introduced compulsory military 
service, and many young men came to America; in addition, both the 
abolition of serfdom and the policy of bitter religious, political, and 
national oppression pursued by the Russian authorities contributed 
to swell the stream of immigrants. The influx into America in- 
creased after the early 1 890’s and was strengthened by the fact, that 
during this period Lithuanian rye, wheat, and flax could find no 
markets abroad. Books and newspapers published by Lithuanians in 
America and smuggled across the German border were passed from 
hand to hand in the Lithuanian towns and villages and attracted con- 
siderable attention. The revolution of 1905 and renewed Rus- 
sian oppression gave a further stimulus to immigration, and many 
Lithuanian socialists and revolutionaries sought refuge in the new 

Lithuanian writers estimate that, before 1899, 275,000 Lithuanian 
immigrants had arrived in the United States. In that year a separate 
classification was established by the American government. Between 
1898 and 1914, 252,294 more Lithuanians entered the country. After 
1914, the number was small: 1921-1930, 6,015; i93i“i9405 2,221; 

1941-1943, 337. 

Settlements. The Reverend A. Kaupas estimates that in 1904 about 

50.000 Lithuanians were living in the anthracite region of Pennsyl- 
vania; 25,000 in West Pennsylvania and West Virginia (Pittsburgh, 
its vicinity, and near the soft coal mines); 10,000 in Philadelphia 
and Baltimore; 15,000 in greater New York (almost exclusively in 
Brooldyn and Long Island City) and its environs (Yonkers, New 
York; and Jersey City, Elizabeth, Newark, and Paterson, New 
Jersey); 25,000 in New England (Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, 
Worcester, Waterbury, Union City, Hartford and Bridgeport); 

1 0.000 in Ohio and Michigan (Cleveland, Detroit, and Grand Rapids) ; 

50.000 in Illinois and Wisconsin (Chicago 25,000-30,000, Spring 
Valley, Westville, Connesville, East Saint Louis, Waukegan, Ashland, 
Sheboygan, and Milwaukee); and that several thousand were scat- 
tered over the states of Missouri, Kansas, Montana, Colorado, and 
Washington. The southern states were practically untouched by 
Lithuanian immigration. 

At the outset, the Lithuanians ' lived in close relations with their 
coreligionists and nearest European neighbors, the Poles. In many 
districts, such as Shamokin, Mount Carmel, and Shenandoah in Penn- 
sylvania, they united with the Poles to form parishes and societies and 
joined the same benevolent societies. But a trend toward separatism 


became apparent in 1885, and these differences came to a head in 
1889 when the Poles refused to acknowledge Father Alexander Burba 
as the priest of the local church in Plymouth, Pennsylvania. In 
1892 the Lithuanians of Shamokin separated from the Poles and 
established their own parishes at Mount Carmel and elsewhere in 

With the foundation of a free Lithuania, some thirty or forty 
thousand Lithuanians elected to return to their native country. But 
when the rouble and the mark fell in value, only about 10,000 
remained in their native land and the rest returned to America. 

We learn from official United States statistics that in 1920 there 
were 135,068 foreign-bom Lithuanians in America, in 193^? 
and in 1940, 165,771. In addition, there were in this country in 194^? 
229,040 native-born persons of Lithuanian stock (“native white of 
foreign or mixed parentage”). But these figures are open to certain 
objections. Lithuanian critics claim that many persons listed as 
Poles, Russians, and Germans were really Lithuanians. The Lithu- 
anian convention held in New York City in March 1918 adopted 
750,000 as the minimum estimate; but these figures made no allowance 
either for those who had returned to their country (about 10 per cent) 
or for those who had died, and the figure is therefore too high. Dr. 
Kemesis estimated in 1924 a total of 455,000 Lithuanian Americans. 
The discrepancies between the American and Lithuanian estimates 
are more evident when we discover that only 272,680 persons regis- 
tered Lithuanian as their mother tongue in the census of 1940. There 
is some connection between this fact and the proportion of Lithu- 
anian Jews, who numbered 25,886, or 2.1 per cent of the Lithuanian 

Cultural Differentiation^ and Assimilation 

Occupations, Only a minority of Lithuanian Americans are farm- 
ers. Some are found in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
New Jersey, and Connecticut, but most of them associate farming with 
the ruinous taxes and unprofitable drudgery they experienced in the 
home country, and so they have turned to industrial pursuits instead. 
They are found as foundrymen in western Pennsylvania; as weavers 
in the cotton mills of New England and the silk mills of Paterson, 
New Jersey; as tanners in Philadelphia, hatmakers in New York, dock- 
workers in Cleveland, tailors in Brooklyn, Baltimore, and Chicago. 
Many are employed in the packing houses in Chicago, in the oil and 

2 Kaupas, ‘‘L’Eglise et les Lituaniens aux Etats-Unis,” Armales des nationalitis, XI, 
pp. 232-234. 



sugar refineries around New York, and in the shoe factories in Bing- 
hamton, New York, and Brockton, Massachusetts. In general they 
belong to the lower working class. The second generation, how- 
ever, tends to enter the professional class. 

Religious divisions. The majority of Lithuanian Americans are 
Roman Cathohcs, but there are a number of Lutherans, Calvinists, 
and Freethinkers. The Roman Catholic Church bulks large in the 
life of the members of every Lithuanian parish, as most of their social 
organizations are connected with it. In 1871 the Lithuanians of 
Shenandoah, at the request of the Archbishop of Philadelphia, invited 
the Reverend Andrew Strupinskas, M.I.C., to take care of the Lithu- 
anians in that community and its vicinity. A year later, the Reverend 
Juskevicius organized a Lithuanian and Polish parish in Shamokin, 
Pennsylvania. In 1 892 the split with the Poles led to the formation, 
of an independent Lithuanian parish in that city. In 1886 Lithu- 
anian parishes had been established in Brooklyn, Mahanoy City and 
Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and in 1 887 in Baltimore. In aU, 1 1 8 parishes 
were organized between 1886 and 1929. In 1944 there were about 
120 Lithuanian parishes in the United States. 

The first Lithuanian National Cathohc Church was founded in 1914 
by the Lithuanians of Scranton, Pennsylvania, with the help of Bishop 
Hodur, head of the Polish National Catholic Church of America. 
S. B. Mickievicz, who was appointed its pastor, was succeeded by 
J. Ciitenas. Mickievicz subsequently organized several Lithuanian 
congregations in Chicago under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Carfora 
of the Old Roman Catholic Church. At a synod held by the Polish 
National Church in 1924, Gritenas was elected bishop of the Lithu- 
anian churches. But the group seceded from the Poles to be headed 
by Archbishop Geniotis. These Lithuanian churches accept the first 
four general councils of the Roman Catholic Church and use the 
Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed. The liturgy is Lithuanian. The 
supreme authority is vested in a synod. There are parishes in Law- 
rence, Massachusetts, and in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and 

Social divisions. The religious background is also intimately con- 
nected with the factions among the Lithuanian Americans, which are 
based on religious ideas rather than on economic, class, or intellectual 

3 See V. M. Palmer, Field Studies in Sociology, pp. 257-265. Chicago: The Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1928, for an account of the Lithuanian colony at Canal- 
port, Chicago. R. E. Park, The Immigrant Press and Its Control, pp. 52-54. New 
York: Harper and Brothers, 1922, describes the nationalizir^ and denationdizing in- 
fluences of the church among Lithuanians. 


Before the first World War, the three largest Lithuanian associa- 
tions in America were the Society of Lithuanian Patriots, the Lithu- 
anian AlHance of America, and the Union of Roman Cathohc 
Lithuanians. Each body pubhshed at its own expense books for 
gratuitous distribution in Lithuania. The rest of the Lithuanian 
immigrants were spht into three distinct groups. The Social Demo- 
crats comprised the “radical” faction, and many eventually drifted 
into communism. The Clerical group voiced its pohcies through the 
medium of three weekly pubhcations, especially the daily Draugas 
(Friend). The National Party represented the Lithuanian patriots; 
they were less interested in Cathohcism but were enthusiastic na- 

Organizations. The tendency of the Lithuanians to form com- 
pact settlements enables them to organize their social fife through 
social, hterary, rehgious, benevolent, and cooperative societies, which 
imitate as far as possible their social institutions at home. These 
activities were suppressed in prewar Russia, with the result that they 
have found strong expression in America. There is an organization 
for almost every purpose, and sometimes several of them. 

It has been estimated that there are over two thousand Lithuanian 
charitable and mutual-aid organizations in America. The largest 
fraternal organizations are the Lithuanian Alliance of America, New 
York, founded in 1886,^ and the Lithuanian Roman Catholic AlHance, 
Wilkes-Barre, founded in 1901 when it separated from its parent 
organization, the Lithuanian AlHance of America. 

The Lithuanians have had to fight a particularly hard and long 
battle for their national independence, and this may explain in part the 
fact that Lithuanian immigrants do not quickly become assimilated.' 
Even though so many Lithuanians were driven from their homes and 
forced to shift for themselves as best they could, their country has re- 
tained its sp'eU over them. The Lithuanian American is proud of the 
tenacity with which he has preserved his language and his traditions. 
The national spirit has been strengthened by frequent contacts with 
the home country and by numerous cultural activities. In every 
colony a marked interest is stiU taken in Lithuanian Hterature, drama, 
painting, and other forms of art. Lithuanian parishes frequently 
organize dramatic performances, where they sing their old dainos and 
dance their traditional dances. Lithuanian radio programs are broad- 
cast intermittently in most of the larger Lithuanian colonies. 

^According to its secretary, the Lithuanian Alliance of America in December 
1937 had 375 lodges with a membership of from 15,000 to 25,000. Its assets as ol 
that date exceeded $2,100,000. 


Despite the strong and successful efforts of Lithuanian Americans 
to preserve their Lithuanian culture pattern within the American 
pattern, the Americanization process is making more and more serious 
inroads into their ranks, especially where the American-born genera- 
tion is concerned. The Lithuanian language used in this country 
is already sprinkled with words that are understandable only to the 
Lithuanians living in America, words that would be a foreign language 
to the Lithuanians living in their native country. We hear such words 
as jardas (yard), strytas (street), oranzis (orange), ame (ham), 
auzas (house), donas (dirt), and so on.® The hold of Lithuania on 
her sons in America, however, is still very strong. It is beauti- 
fully expressed in the following confession of a Lithuanian Ameri- 
can: ® 

I am now a broken old man, physically. The best years of my life were 
spent in the steel blast furnaces of Pennsylvania. There I helped with 
my muscle to complete the work which nature started. 

My wife has gone to her just reward these many years past. Her grave 
lies amongst these hills. Flowers will barely grow upon it. The dust that 
is in my lungs, and which gives me and my friends no peace, also covers 
her grave. 

My children have grown up. They are educated, and the education 
given them by America has taken them from me. I speak English only 
as an untaught alien can speak it. But my children know all the slang 
phrases. They speak differently, they act differently, and when they 
come to visit me they come alone. They do not explain why they do 
not bring their friends, but I instinctively sense the reason. They should 
not fear. I would not cause them any embarrassment. But they too 
look upon their father as an inferior, an alien, a bohunk. 

So my only consolation is my memory. And strange as it may seem 
to you, my experiences in America are not the ones that crowd my 
thoughts. No, it is the memory of my childhood days, spent in far 
away Lithuania. I remember the folklore and the great green forests. 

Once I asked my mother to explain the noises that we heard coming 
from the heart of the forest after sundown. And my mother said the 
sounds were the songs of joy uttered by the spirits of departed aniiiials 
that had lived freely. The heart of the forest, she said, was their heaven. 
After I had learned that story the heart of the forest and all natural fast- 
nesses were always holy places to me. 

So now these simple memories are with me, not the thought of Amer- 
ica's greatness. Maybe it is because I was so strong in body when I left 
Lithuania, and am now a broken old man. And the forest did not take 
my health and my children away from me. 

sAn excellent and scholarly study of this problem is A. Senn, “Eioiges aus der 
Sprache der Amerika Litauer,” Studi Baltics 11 , pp. 35-58, Rome, 1932. 

6 His Afnerica, a papiphlet made up from a letter written to the Foreign Language 
Information Service, New York City. 


Na.turdiza.tion and literacy. The tendency of the Lithuanians to 
assimhate less rapidly than do other immigrant groups is reflected in 
the low rate of naturalization — 55.8 per cent in 1940, the lowest 
among European immigrants. Originally higher education was prac- 
tically unknown among the Lithuanian immigrants, but the situation 
in this respect is rapidly improving and there are now a considerable 
number of Lithuanian physicians, priests, surgeons, lawyers, actors, 
professors, and the like. Yet, in 1930, it was estimated that 24.5 per 
cent of foreign-bom Lithuanians (10 years old and over) were 
illiterate, a very high rate surpassed only by the immigrants from 
Italy, Portugal, Syria, and the Azores. But it should be remembered 
that before 1914 there were no Lithuanian schools in the home country 
and private teaching of the native tongue was strictly forbidden by 
the Russian government. 

Education. The first Catholic Lithuanian school in America dates 
from about 1895. It was founded in Chicago and instruction was 
in the hands of non-Lithuanians, usually sisters of the Polish congre- 
gation of the Nazarene Sisters. The first purely Lithuanian educa- 
tional establishment was founded at the Parish School at Mount 
Carmel, Pennsylvania, in 1907, under the control of the Sisters of St. 
Casimir. In 1933 the Sisters of St. Casimir operated twenty-two 
schools with a stalf of 170 teachers and a total attendance of 5,527 
Lithuanian children, of whom all but 10 per cent were native bom. 
In 1936, the Catholic parishes conducted forty-eight parochial schools, 
attended by over 10,000 pupils. 

The Lithuanian Catholics also support a number of other educa- 
tional institutions. The Marianapolis College and High School, 
Thompson, Connecticut, was founded in 1931 by the Marian Fathers, 
though the origins of this foundation date back to 1926. Its 
Lithuanian- American Students and Professional Association publishes 
a well-edited monthly Studentu Zodis (Students’ World) in Lithu- 

The press. An important role in the life of the Lithuanian Amer- 
icans is played by the press. In 1879, Tvarauskas issued the first 
Lithuanian-American publication, a Lithuanian-English dictionary, 
but it was not finished. In the same year he started to publish in New 
York City a Lithuanian newspaper, Lietuviszka Gazieta (Lithuanian 
Gazette). The first Lithuanian newspaper in pure text was the 
Vienybe Lietuivninku (Lithuanian Unity), which appeared in Ply- 
mouth, Pennsylvania, in 1884. This paper, later transferred to 
Brooklyn, is now published as the Vienybe (Unity). In 1885, Dr. 



John Sliupas inaugurated publication in New York Gty of the na- 
tionalist Lietuvos Balsas (Lithuanian Voice). In all, some thirty-one 
Lithuanian periodicals were being published in America in 1940. 

The majority of the Lithuanians are Cathohc and their views are 
represented by the Chicago daily Draugas (Friend) and the weekly 
Garsas (Sound). The Lithuanian Nationalists, on the other hand, are 
represented by the Brooklyn daily Vienybe (Unity), the Cleveland 
weekly Dirva (Field), and the Worcester weekly A?nerikos Lietuvis 
(American Lithuanian) . All of them heartily support the Lithuanian 
national government. The Socialists maintain the Chicago daily 
Naujienos (News) and the Boston weekly Keleivis (Traveller). The 
Communists publish the Brooklyn daily Laisve (Freedom ) and weekly 
Naujoji Gadyne (New Era) and the Chicago Vilnis (Wave). 

About 1 890, certain educated Lithuanians began to publish news- 
papers and books, and a book-publishing society, the Tevynes 
Myletoju Draugija (Lovers of the Fatherland), was founded. 
Writers and pubhcists prominent in the liberal and national movement 
in the United States were Sliupas, the poet Jonas Jilius, the Reverend 
A. Burba, V. Dembskis, J. Sernas (Adomaitis), Kaledu Kauke 
(K. Jurgelionis), Karolis Vairas (V. K. Rackauskas), J. Simydas, 
and others. In all, several hundred Lithuanian books were printed in 
America and smuggled into Lithuania, together with Lithuanian news- 
papers. Beyond doubt, the contact between those who had remained 
at home and those who had emigrated was a major factor in arousing 
the national aspirations of the Lithuanians under the reacdonary 
Russian rule.'' 

Many Lithuanian organizations were formed during World War I. 
Their primary purpose was to aid Lithuanian war sufferers and to 
assist Lithuania to secure autonomy and independence. November i, 
1916, was named Lithuanian Day and about $200,000 were raised 
and turned over to the American Red Cross on condition that the 
money be spent in Lithuania. On June 8-1 1, 1919, a Lithuanian 
convention was held in Chicago, where the Lithuanian Liberty Bell, 
now in the War Museum in Kaunas, was rung for the first time. 

When the independence of Lithuania was finally proclaimed on 
February 16, 1918, a group of over two hundred ex-service men from 
the American Army went to Lithuania to join the Lithuanian military 
and air forces. At the head of this group was Captain Stephen Darius, 

7 For a list of the 1914 Lithuanian-American periodicals, see F. S. Kemesis, Co- 
operation among the IJtlmanians in the United States^ p. 12. Washington, D. C.: 
Catholic University of America Press, 1924. 



who, with Lieutenant Stanley Girenas, made the ill-fated trans- 
Atlantic flight in July, 1933. In February, 1920, the Lithuanian 
Financial Mission came to America to raise a loan for the needs of the 
new state — the Lithuanian Liberty Loan. Over a million and a half 
dollars were subscribed by American Lithuanians. America formally 
recognized the new state on May 31, 1921. 

American Lithuanians and World War 11 . Even before Pearl 
Harbor, the American Lithuanians began to show their fears for their 
homeland when, in March, 1939, Lithuania was forced to cede the 
Memel territory to Germany. But the real blow came when, on 
June 14, 1940, Russia presented Lithuania with an ultimatum charging 
her with violating the mutual-assistance pact of October, 1939; and 
on June 15, Russian troops swarmed into the country. A new pro- 
Soviet government was formed in the country, and President Smetona 
and other leaders had to flee. The election for the new Parliament 
was interpreted by the Soviet authorities as a plebiscite in favor of 
jo ining the Soviet Union, and Lithuania was incorporated into the 

Antanas Smetona, first president of Lithuania and its president-in- 
esdle after the Russians invaded it, came to the United States as a guest 
of the United States government and intended to return to Lithuania 
after the war. He lived in Pittsburgh and Chicago and led the fight 
for restoration of the freedom of his country, making frequent 
speeches and urging an end to the type of aggression in Europe which 
smothered Lithuania. He died on January 9, 1944, in a fire that swept 
the home of his son in Cleveland. 

The movement continued to be headed by P. Zadeilds, minister of 
Lithuania to the United States, who continued to retain his post in 
Washington.® The Lithuanian-American Council of Greater New 
York addressed a memorandum on November 30, 1943, to the United 
States government in which it expressed anxiety for Lithuania’s 
future in connection -with the declarations made at the Moscow Con- 
ference. The Council urged the restoration of complete independ- 
ence to Lithuania after the war.® 

Over three hundred Americans of Lithuanian descent from Chicago, 
Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, and other localities in the twenty-one 

8 See P. Zadeikis, “An Aspect of the Lithuanian Record of Independence,” p, 49, in 
“A Challenge to Peacemakers,” Anmls (of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Science), March, 1944. 

» The Lithuanian Bulletin, published by the Lithuanian National Council, 73 West 
104 St.| New York City, since 1943, contains summaries of these activities. 



states representing the League to Liberate Lithuania, the American 
Friends of Lithuania, and the Federation of Eastern Lithuanian Organ- 
izations, held a convention on February 5-6, 1944, at the Hotel Penn- 
sylvania, New York City, for the purpose of presenting the case for 
Lithuanian independence to the American public and to launch a 
$5,000,000 war-bond drive among American Lithuanians. A peti- 
tion was sent to President Roosevelt for aid in the restoration of inde- 
pendence of the republic of Lithuania. During the month of Febru- 
ary, 1944, as in previous years, gatherings observing the anniversary of 
the Lithuanian Declaration of Independence were held in many 
Lithuanian-American centers. The communistic forces among the 
Lithuanian Americans held the so-called Lithuanian-American “demo- 
cratic” conference in Brooklyn on December 18-19, ^943-^'’ 

Contributions to American Life 

' The Lithuanian Americans are not far behind other nationalities in 
providing leaders in the arts, education, business, and sports.^^ Thus, 
Mikas Petrauskas, composer of a large number of popular Lithuanian 
songs, about twenty Lithuanian operettas, and a Lithuanian opera, 
was the first musically trained Lithuanian to work among his people 
in America.^® In addition to writing music, he did much to popu- 
larize Lithuanian folk dances and was an able organizer of Lithuanian 
singing choirs. He maintained at different times three conservatories 
of music — ^in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Boston. With the exception 
of his opera, “Egle- 2 alcui Karaliene,” presented in Boston in 1924, 
his compositions were of a light, popular character, utilizing exten- 
sively motives from the numerous Lithuanian folk songs. There are 
other well-known musical leaders. Anna Kaska, contralto, was one 
of the first singers to be chosen from radio auditions for stardom with 
the Metropohtan Opera Company. Professor Joseph 2 ilevicius, 
composer and former director of the Conservatory of Music at 
Klaipeda, now lives in America. Among other prominent Lithuanian 

10 For a pro-Soviet attack on the forces favoring the liberation of the Baltic states, 
see Gregory Meiksms, The Baltic Biddle, p. 208. New York: L. B. Fischer, 1943. 

11 The best work in this field is Susivienijimo Lietuviu Amerikoje, Auksinio Juvilie- 
iaus, Albumas 1886-1936. New York: Lithuanian Alliance of America, 1936. Al- 
though the principal aim of this Album is to record pictorially the fifty years’ ac- 
tivities of the Alliance, it' nevertheless represents a fair picture of Lithuanian workers 
in cultural and political activities of America. The work contains portraits of many 
outstanding T iVbnanian Americans and of some prominent leaders in the re-establish- 
ment of the independent state of Lithuania. 

12 Petrauskas was bom in 1873 and died in Lithuania in 1937. He first came to 
the United States in 1907, but after a concert tour of Lithuanian settlements re- 
turned to Italy for further studies. He came back to America in 1909. 


musicians in the United States are Alexander Aleksis, formerly of the 
Conservatory of Warsaw; the violinist, Professor J. Zidanavi&s; 
Anthony Pocius, director of the Beethoven Conservatory of Music 
of Chicago; and Helen Mickunas, a radio, concert, and opera star. 
M. J. Sheilas is connected with the Chicago Art Institute. In the 
field of painting, Ignas Yields of Chicago stands out and Jonas 
Szileika was awarded a first prize by the Chicago Art Institute while 
he lived in America. 

The Lithuanian-American group is rich in talented literary men. 
Dr. M. J. Vinikas, secretary of the Lithuanian Alliance of America, 
is the author of Economic Relations of Lithuania and Diplomatic Rela- 
tions of Lithuania (theses, American University, Washington, D. C., 
1933, 1934). In the field of education are the Reverend Joseph 
Vaitkevicius, Dr. J. Navickas, Reverend Michael Civulskis, Dr. J. 
Raymond-Rimavicius, E. Ziurys, and Lieutenant P. Moncius. In 
civic and pohrical affairs, Casimir Kriauciunas (Kay) is judge of the 
Superior Court of Seattle, Washington. John T. Zuris is a Chicago 
municipal judge, and Frank Mast, formerly counselor of the Lithu- 
anian Legation, was assistant district attorney of Chicago. Dr. A. 
Velybus and A. Janusatis (Janushat) are members of the Pennsylvania 
legislature, K. Paulauskas of the New Jersey, J. De Righter-Deraitis 
of the Ohio, and Nadas Rastenis of the Maryland legislature. W. J. 
Wimbiscusis is judge of the Cook County Circuit Court of Chicago, 
and J. P. Uvick, judge of the city of Grosse Point, Michigan. J. 
Kairis, mayor of Seatonville, Ilhnois, Anna C. Lakawitz, mayor of 
Liimdale, Ohio, and J. Vansavage, mayor of New Philadelphia, Penn- 
sylvania, are others who have achieved prominence in civic affairs. 

In the field of athletics, the three who are probably the best known 
are Jack Sharkey (Juozas.!Zukauskas) , the former world’s heavyweight 
champion; Billie Burke (Vincas Burkauskas), golfer; and Jack Good- 
man, golf champion. 

Miss Anna Bematitus (Bemotaite), of Lithuanian parentage, who 
served on Bataan and Corregidor as a navy nurse, was the first person 
in the United States naval service (in 1942) to receive the award of 
the Legion of Merit. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

There is no accurate information about Estonian immigrants before 
World War I; but it is stated authoritatively that the first Estonian 



immigrants landed in the United States around 1870. The first more 
or less definite wave in immigration began around 1890. We cannot 
ascertain its strength, because most of those coming here carried 
Russian passports and thus were counted as Russians. On the other 
hand, those who passed through other European ports on their way 
to America were undoubtedly counted as members of those nation- 
alities. In fact, even the United States census of 1920 grouped the 
Estonians with the Latvians and Russians. 

The first news of Estonian farmers here was received through 
Finnish mediation. Information sent by Finnish clergy in America 
to Dr. Oscar Kallas, who was later Estonian envoy in London, ap- 
peared in Postmees of November 20, 1896. A significaint portion 
of this news referred to seven Estonian farmer families in Dakota, 
who had arrived there some years earlier from Crimea. Later, to 
these immigrant farmers who looked for better farming opportunities 
in America were added industrial workers and artificers. But the 
main flow of immigrants commenced only after the abortive Russian 
revolution of 1905. The largest number arrived between 1905 and 
1908, although the flow of immigration remained fairly steady until 
1914. It was a chaotic and unorganized movement that took Esto- 
nians to America, and the chief reasons for it were the narrow 
economic conditions that prevailed at home under the Czarist regime 
and the fable of easy life across the ocean. Other factors were letters 
from friends and relations who had settled earher in the “land of 
plenty,” and the propaganda of shipping lines. 

The first arrivals settled usually in the seaports of America; thus, 
New York and San Francisco became particularly the places of their 
abode. The farmers from Crimea, on the other hand, followed their 
calling. The largest group settled near Irma and Gleason in Wiscon- 
sin, where even today some fifty families can be found. The next 
largest settlement was near Tacoma and Spokane, Washington. 
Many of these immigrants crossed the continent to find homes, 
because of the fact that some Estonians had landed on the Pacific 
coast, settled there, and induced these later arrivals to come west from 
New York. There were few skilled workers, few professional men 
or merchants among the immigrants. The few who were better 
educated and got better jobs were not outstanding among their 

Not until February 2, 1920, did Estonia sign a peace treaty with 
Soviet Russia. Consequently, it was not until 192: that the postwar 
Estonian immigration began and that accurate figures were available. 


In contrast to the prewar immigration, these individuals all came 
through the port of New York, and very few of them decided to 
take up farming. A majority were laborers, and quite a substantial 
group was composed of the intelligentsia, who had suffered during 
the war and who wanted to escape the difficult times that Estonia 
had faced from 1 9 1 8 to 1 920. Most of them had some ties with former 
emigrants, and nearly all of them remained in New York City. There 
they became small businessmen and tradesmen, a majority of them 
engaging in the building trades involving carpentry work and paint- 
ing. _ 

It is extremely interesting to compare the census figures with the 
unofficial estimates of Estonian leaders in the United States. Ac- 
cording to the census, we received officially 765 immigrants from 
Estonia in 1924, 1,576 for the period 1924-1930, and 506 from 
1 9 3 1 - 1 940. But the statement that, according to their mother tongue, 
there were only 138 individuals in 1910 who spoke Estonian, and that 
the number was 1,024 1920, and 2,908 in 1930, unquestionably does 

not give the complete figures. The same criticism applies to the 
official census figures of 1940, which inform us that in that year there 
were 4, 1 7 8 foreign-born Estonians and i ,480 native white Estonians — 
a total of only 6,658 Estonians and their children. On the other 
hand. Consul Kuusik and other leaders believe that 60,000 Estonians 
and children is a reasonable estimate. 

If we use again the American official census for the distribution of 
Estonian foreign-born immigrants, we see that they live mainly in 
the middle Atlantic states and California, more than 50 per cent 
living in New York City. It is interesting to note that Estonians in 
North America have grouped in northern sections comparable to the 
climatic conditions of their homeland. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

In the Atlantic section of the United States, the majority of the 
Elstonian Americans are located in the four large cities — ^New York, 
Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. In the environment of New 
York can be found, especially on Long Island and in New Jersey, 
a number of Estonians living on small vegetable and chicken farms 
and working in their spare time at outside jobs in neighboring towns. 
In New Jersey, the Estonians settled in most of the cities in the 
northern part of the state. Some 2,000 Estonians are located in 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, in addition to approxi- 



mately 1,000 in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Similar 
small groups are found in Pennsylvania and the Virginias. 

In the Lakes region, as in the Atlantic group, the Estonians live 
mostly in the cities. In fact, in all lake-shore industrial cities, 
Estonians can be found as sailors on lake ships and workers in fac- 
tories, mines, and log and lumber camps. In small cities they are 
usually locksmiths and mechanics. In Wisconsin, they are located 
around the towns of Irma and Gleason, the only large Estonian colony 
in the midwestern and western states of the United States. They 
live in close proximity to one another, mainly on dairy farms. 

On the west coast there is a settlement in Portland, Oregon, which 
was founded as early as 1878. The ships of the Russian Navy 
visited Portland for coal and provisions, thus giving the Estonian 
sailors a chance to desert. Some few moved out into other cities or 
formed farming communities in both Oregon and Washington. The 
same process was carried on in California, San Francisco remaining 
the second largest colony of Estonians in the United States; but some 
moved out into the agricultural areas. 

Religion. If we notice that Estonia proper has 78.2 per cent 
Lutherans, 19 per cent Greek Orthodox, and less than one per cent 
of Adventists, Methodists, Evangelists, and other Christian denomina- 
tions, we have an indication of the religious divisions of American 
Estonians. About 80 per cent are Lutherans, and the remaining 
percentages remain about the same as in the home country. As is 
usually the case with Protestant immigrants, the interest in their faith 
weakens in this country. On the other hand, this is less true among 
the American Estonians than among many other national groups. 

Organizations. The majority of the prewar immigrants lacked 
patriotic feelings. Of thek former homeland, oppressed under a' 
foreign yoke, they remembered only poverty. In America also many 
were used as temporary laborers, who found employment in boom 
years and were unemployed during depressions. Employers were 
mostly American bom. The Estonian immigrant at best worked up 
to the position of foreman or overseer. All in all, the immigrants’ 
social and cultural positions were such that they inevitably felt their 

The same factor operated in political life. The majority of Esto- 
nians did not take out American citizenship and, consequently, had 
no vote. Political leaders did not have to consider them; moreover, 
they were few in number. Their children came to underrate their 


fathers’ homeland which, until after World War I, did not exist 
pohtically. The only tie that these immigrants had with their 
homeland was the Estonian press, but this was ineffectual, since few 
settlers subscribed. 

A sudden change in the attitude of Estonian Americans was 
brought about by the Estonian War of Liberation in 1 9 1 8- 1 9 2 o. The 
victorious conclusion of the war and the estabhshment of the Estonian 
Republic helped to cure this inferiority complex and raise their pride 
in their national background. Estonia was no longer the country of 
poor emigrants but of victorious soldiers. Estonians in America sud- 
denly discovered with a certain pride that they were Estonians also. 
National reconstruction and the achievements at home, with which 
the immigrants keep informed through participation every five years 
in the Congress of Overseas Estonians, tended to increase this pride. 
Estonian Americans, revisiting their former homeland, found then- 
country changed, and returned to America with different views. A 
new spirit has been developed by recent immigrants from independent 
Estonia, most of whom belong to the educated classes and are naturally 
more culturally conscious than were the earher unskilled workers. 
And by now many of those earher settlers have risen on the social 

There is a mutual-benefit organization among the American Esto- 
nians. The first social Estonian society was formed in New York in 
1898. Today there are nine Estonian- American societies: The Eisto- 
nian Educational Society, New York City; Arendaja, Cleveland; Kodu, 
Detroit; the Chicago Estonian Club; the Estonian Society of Southern 
Cahfomia, Los Angeles; the Estonian Society of San Francisco; the 
World Association of Estonians, founded in 1940; the Boston Estonian 
Society; and the Baltimore Estonian Society. 

In contrast to other immigrant groups, the Estonians are not so 
extensively subdivided into factional sections. The work of the 
Estonian Educational Society of New York, arising in December 1929 
from the fusion of several organized groups of Estonians existing at 
that time, may be taken as typical. It hires its own rooms, which are 
kept open every night, arranges frequent socials, participates in folk- 
dance festivals, has its own choir, celebrates Estonia’s national holidays, 
and its members enjoy the privileges of the library, restaurant and bar, 
billiard room and dance floor; it also has its own dancing troupe and 
broadcasts from time to time on the radio. Its remarkable success in 
attracting the American-born generation to participate in its cultural 
activities is possibly due to the very able leadership of the society and 



the ability of the organization to give these young people “good fun” 
— as expressed by an Estonian authority. . No doubt, the small num- 
ber (comparatively speaking) of New York Estonians is also a factor 
in their strength. 

The press. Two Estonian newspapers were started before World 
War I, but soon went out of existence. The Ameerika Eestlane 
(American Estonian) experienced the same fate in half a year’s time. 
Today, the only Estonian periodical is the Meie Tee (Our Path), 
a monthly, published in New York City by the Estonian Educational 
Society, which sets a high standard of immigrant journalism. 

Education. There is only one Estonian school in America, and 
that one is in New York City, where the Estonian Educational Society 
holds classes every Friday night for adults and for children. It is not 
a school in the real sense of the word, but tries, rather, to develop 
itself as such on the basis of its teaching of the language, folk dances, 
and national songs. There are no Estonian church schools. 

Contributions to American Life 

The Estonian Americans, although one of the smallest American 
minorities, are not without outstanding names to which they point 
with pride. Professor Theodor A. Wiel is a member of the depart- 
ment of history and political science of the American International 
College (Springfield, Massachusetts); Professor George Valley is a 
member of Yale University faculty; Dr. Linda A. Tischer is physician 
at the Cleveland Hospital; John Torpats has published several books 
on economics; William Zimdim is a prominent businessman at 
Elsinore, California; Andrew Winter is a prominent artist-painter; 
John Okelman heads the Estonian Educational Society of New 
York City; Ludwig Juht, an outstanding contrabass soloist, is a 
member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

The first Finnish immigrants to America accompanied the group of 
Swedes who in the seventeenth century established a colony in what 
is now the state of Delaware, near the present site of Wilmington. 
Gustavus Adolphus, famous Swedish warrior king, was the original 
sponsor of this colonization project. He foresaw the advantages to 
be derived from establishing trade outposts in the newly discovered 
America, and in 1626, urged thereto by Willem Usselinx, a Nether- 


lander, he formed a commercial company for that purpose. War in 
Germany in 1630 interrupted his plans, and the funds of the company 
were arbitrarily used for the war. After the death of Gustavus, how- 
ever, the Swedish government revived the colonization scheme, and 
as a result the Kah77ar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip sailed up Delaware 
Bay, in the spring of 1638, with the first group of Swedish settlers. 

There were numerous Finns in Sweden in our colonial period who 
were offered inducements to emigrate to the new colonies; such of 
them as were found guilty of offenses were forced to emigrate. In 
consequence, when in July, 1641, the Kalntar Nyckel again sailed 
from Gothenburg for New Sweden, a large proportion of its pas- 
sengers were Finns. The same held true of the thirteen other expedi- 
tions that came from Sweden to Delaware before the Swedish colonies 
were captured by the Dutch in 1655. Finns who had prospered in 
the new country urged their friends and relatives to join them, and 
soon there were more Finnish volunteers than the ships could carry. 
The emigration of Finns even created international complications. 
After the Dutch had taken possession of the Swedish settlements in 
the new world and the direct flow of immigrants from Sweden had 
thereby been stopped, a group of Finns made their way across Norway 
to Oslo, where they embarked for Holland. Over the objection of 
the Swedish government they were shipped to America by the Dutch. 

Some ten years later, in 1 664, the Swedish settlements passed into 
the hands of the British. The Swedish and Finnish colonists were 
dissatisfied and rebellious, and in 1668 and 1669 open insurrection 
broke out. The leader of the movement was a Finn who claimed to 
be the son of Count Koenigsmark, a famous Swedish general, and who 
sometimes used the name Koenigsmark (or Coningsmarke), but more 
generally was known by the names Marcus Jacobsen or the “Long 
Finn.” The rebellion was unsuccessful and the Long Finn and 
many of his Finnish and Swedish associates were captured. Most of 
them were let off with heavy fines, but the Long Finn and some of 
his most important men were deported. 

These Finnish and Swedish colonists soon turned the land upon 
which the cities of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and Chester now stand, 
from a wilderness into cultivated farmland. In time, some of them 
migrated to southern New York state. Many names in Delaware, 
Pennsylvania, and southern New York testify to the presence of 
Finns in those states, and recent historical research has disclosed that 
a number of the oldest and best-known families in Philadelphia and 
Delaware Valley trace their descent from these early Finnish immi- 



grants. John Morton, for example, one of the signers of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, was proud of his Finnish ancestry. William 
Penn bought land from the Finnish settlers and has left written testi- 
mony as to the cleanliness of their home life and their thrifty and 
industrious habits. He was impressed by the fact that in nearly all 
Finnish families there were from ten to tu^enty children. 


After this first period of Finnish colonization there was a long 
period during which, so far as is known, no Finnish immigrants came 
to America. The next notable immigration of Finns was directed 
to Alaska. Prior to 1867, it will be recalled, this territory belonged 
to Russia, which used it mainly for trading purposes. Russian ships 
carrying on such trade were largely manned with Finns, at that time 
Russian subjects. Many who came as seamen remained as settlers. 
Finnish immigration to Alaska was actively promoted by Arvid Adolf 
Etholen, a Finn, who for a while was governor of Alaska. Several 
hundred Finns settled in the territory between 1835 and 1865; they 
constituted the majority of the Europeans who had come to Alaska to 
live during the Russian rule. As fishermen, hunters, and foresters in 
the Sitka ^strict, the Finnish settlers prospered greatly. They were 
accompanied or followed by a number of pastors, among whom was 
the late Uno Cygnaeus, who was to become famous as the founder 
of the system of primary education in Finland. 

The discovery of gold in California brought an influx of Finns to 
that state. Several hundred came as seamen to the Pacific coast in 
1849 afterward settled there. In 1855, during the Crimean War, 
some Finnish sailors who had enlisted under the Russian flag remained 
in America in order to avoid being captured by the British on the high 
seas. They settled in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and 
New York. In 1861 more than a hundred Finns enlisted in the 
United States Navy and served during the last years of the Civil War. 
They settled subsequently in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. 

Finnish immigration on a large scale did not, however, begin until 
1864. A number of Finns came to the copper country in upper 
Michigan with some Norwegians who had been engaged by the 
Quincy Mining Company of Hancock to work in the Houghton 
County mines. A group of Finns emigrated from Tromso in 
Norway, in the spring of 1864, to St. Peter, Minnesota. Another 
small group sailed from Hammerfest somewhat later with Red Wing, 
Minnesota, as its destination. A fourth group came from Vadso in 


the same summer. Some found work in lumber camps; others took 
up homesteads in Cokato, Holmes City, and Franklin, Minnesota. 
Duluth, Minnesota, became the capital for Finnish immigrants in that, 
part of the country. Many Finns served with the Union Army 
during the Civil War. After the war, they settled in different parts 
of the United States, but mainly in the Midie West. Many returned 
to farming or worked in the newly opened mines of Michigan. 

In the eighties and nineties immigration increased greatly. The 
majority of the immigrants went to Michigan, Minnesota, and other 
northern states where the climate most closely resembled that of their 
native land. They worked in the railway gangs that helped to build 
communication across the continent, in the logging camps of the 
Northwest, and in the iron and copper mines. They soon gained a 
good reputation as miners in Michigan, Minnesota, and Montana; 
most of the pioneer Finnish miners in the upper peninsula of Michigan 
had gained their experience in the mines of Northern Sweden and 
Norway. Finnish immigrants also settled in New England. Finns 
came to Boston as early as 1 860 as sailors. By correspondence and 
visits to their homeland, they spread news of America among their 
friends and relatives, thus stimulating immigration. Finns in New 
England are located now principally in Gardner, Fitchburg, 
Worcester, the suburbs of Boston, Quincy, and the Cape Ann district, 
where they have slowly and methodically rehabilitated abandoned 

In the early days, Swedish-speaking immigrants from Finland out- 
numbered the Finnish-speaking ones three to one. Later the pro- 
portions became more nearly equal, but even then the loss of popula- 
tion was relatively greater among the Swedish-speaking group. After 
1870, the percentage of those who spoke Finnish as their mother 
tongue increased, resulting in a corresponding increase in the per- 
centage of Finnish-speaking immigrants. 

The first Finnish immigrants left their homes because their country, 
being industrially undeveloped, consisted chiefly of large families and 
small farms, and it seemed more feasible to break up the former than 
the latter. A failure of the crops in Norway, Sweden, and Finland 
in 1867, with a resultant famine in 1868, gave the emigration move- 
ment a strong impetus. The shortage of food was felt first in Norway 
and Sweden and later in Finland. The introduction of compulsory 
military service in Finland came just at the time when emigration 
was increasing, and this increase was fostered by the Russification 
policy of the Czarist government which culminated in the February 



manifesto in 1 899, whereby the constitutional rights of Finland were 
revoked. Against this general background, we must consider the 
economic and social changes produced in the traditionally agricultural 
community by the industrial and capitalistic revolution. These 
changes induced the Pohjalaiset, the settlers of the prosperous farming 
province of Vaasa, to provide the bulk of immigrants from Finland. 
In addition, American steamship companies were promoting immigra- 
tion in order to attract workers for railway construction. 

The result of all these factors was that more than one tenth of the 
population left its homeland, although before 1914 about 40 per cent 
of the emigrants had returned.^ 

It is difficult to determine the exact number of Finns who emigrated 
to the United States, partly because, when they entered the country 
through Norway, they were frequently classified as Norwegians. 
Similar ethnographical inaccuracies occurred when th«y came in 
Swedish or Danish boats or entered the United States through Canada. 
This is borne out by the fact that the statistics of immigration give only 
19,930 Finns coming to the United States, while the 1940 census 
reports that 284,220 gave Finland as their country of origin and that 
117,210 of these were foreign bom. Finnish is given as mother 
tongue by 230,420. The Finns themselves estimate their numbers in 
the United States as high as 350,000 to 400,000, including the children 
born in America of Finnish parents. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilatmi 

The Finns have always sought those regions of the United States 
that closely resemble Finland. Although there are Finns in every 
state of the Union, they are found chiefly in the northern states and 
on the Pacific coast. Michigan in 1930 had the largest Finnish popu- 
lation, followed by Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Washing- 
ton, Cahfomia, Ohio, and Wisconsin, in the order named. 

Occupations. To some extent, the Finns have settled in colonies. 
The largest Finnish population has always been found in Michigan’s 
Houghton County, with Calumet and Hancock as its chief urban 
centers. Another Finnish colony in Michigan is found in Marquette 
County, in the towns of Ishpeming, Negaunee, Marquette, and 
Republic. Thousands of Finns have moved from Duluth, Minne- 
sota, to the mining towns on the Vermillion and Mesaba ranges. 
Thousands more have taken up farming in the vicinity of mining 

1 0 . K. Kilpi, “Statistics of Population,” Finland, The Country, Its Feople and 
Institutions. Helsinki, 1926. 


towns, and St. Louis County contains one of the largest Finnish com- 
munities in America. On the western coast, Astoria, Oregon, has 
attracted Finnish fishermen; one of the chief canning factories there 
is owned by Finns. From there they have spread to the neighboring 
farmlands, and many are farmers on the dike lands along the Columbia 
River. Several thousand Finns are found in Aberdeen, Washington. 
Many are working in the sawmills of Eureka and Fort Bragg, Cali- 
fornia, and others as loggers in the California red-wood forests. 
There is a settlement of raisin growers' in Reedley, Cahfornia. In 
Wisconsin, Finnish farmers are found mostly in and near the towns of 
Turtle Lake, Owen, and Phelps. In Illinois, the majority of the Finns 
hve in Chicago, Waukegan, and DeKalb, and work in the wire mills 
and other factories. In Ohio, many have moved from the coast of 
Lake Erie to the inland steel mills and farms. Others own land near 
the manufacturing towns in Massachusetts and make a good living by 
growing strawberries and other garden produce. Several hundred 
Finnish farmers hve in Maine. In general, though they may work 
for a time in the factories in large towns or in mines, as soon as they 
have saved enough money to purchase a piece of land or claim a farm 
or “homestead,” the Finns leave the city and make the farm their 
permanent home and their main source of income. Many attempts 
have been made to settle Finnish fanners in Florida, Georgia, New 
Mexico, Texas, and other southern states, but the men have mostly 
returned to the north, not being accustomed to the southern climate 
and forms of vegetation. 

The Finns are behevers in the cooperative system, and their cooper- 
ative creameries in Minnesota and cooperative shops in New England 
testify to their abihty in establishing this method of production and 
distribution. Even some of the smallest Finnish communities in 
America have their own osuuskauppa (cooperative stores) . The first 
notable cooperative enterprise was the Finnish cannery in Astoria, 
Oregon, where the famous Columbia River salmon and other fish are 
packed and canned. Many other forms of cooperative business have 
since been set up by the Finns, such as restaurants, farms, fire insur- 
ance, wholesale and retail grocery stores, newspapers, meat markets, 
and apartment buildings. 

Churches and church organizations. Nearly aU Finns in the United 
States belong to the Lutheran Church. Within that church there are, 
however, three religious organizations or groups, difiFering from each 
other in various ways. The Suomi Synod or Finnish Evangelical 
Lutheran Church of America is the strongest of the three. This 



church’s educational work is extensive. In 1926 it held 100 summer 
schools, the pupils numbering 4,747 and the teachers 105. The edu- 
cational department of the Synod also includes Suomi College and 
Theological Seminary at Hancock, organized in 1 896.^ The history 
of this coUege dates back to 1896. Its primary aim is the training of 
Finnish ministers, the Theological Seminary being opened in 1904. 
It is the only institution for higher learning in the United States that 
offers courses in Finnish. In 1932 it was affiliated with the University 
of Michigan. 

At the time of the establishment of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in 1890, there was, particularly in Calumet, considerable 
opposition to the new organization; as a result, a separate local church 
known as the Finnish National Church was founded. As other 
churches joined the movement, an organization was formed at Rock 
Springs, Wyoming, on June 26, 1899, later incorporated at 

Ironwood, Michigan, as the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran National 
Church of America. 

Among the Finns who first settled in Calumet were a number 
belonging to a sect founded by Provost Lars Levi Laestadius of Pa j ala 
in Sweden. Disagreements arose between them and other Lutherans, 
and in December, 1872, under the leadership of Salomon Korteniemi, 
the Lutheran Society was organized. In 1879 this name was changed 
to the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation. As other congre- 
gations of Finns in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon 
were organized on the same basis, they came into fellowship with 
this body under the name of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran 

Temperance and other societies. The Finns in America have been 
especially active in the temperance movement. In 1895 the Fohjan 
Tahti (North Star) Temperance Association was founded, and many 
similar societies arose later. Their names, such as Koitto (Morning 
Twilight), Onni (Luck), Hyva Toivo (Good Hope), Sade (Ray) 
and Soihtu (Torch), indicate how idealistic was their nature. They 
cooperated with the Anti-Saloon League in carrying on the fight 
against the sale of intoxicating drinks, and they also served as social 
centers. At one time there were 160 Finnish temperance societies 
possessing halls for meetings, and the Finnish National Brotherhood 
Temperance Association had a membership of over 10,000 in 1904. 
In recent years the temperance movement has lost force. The revoca- 

2 The follo^yiIlg information is based on several articles written by John Wargelin 
and odiers for The Daily Mining Gazette^ Houghton and Calumet, September 5, 1956, 


tion of the Eighteenth Amendment has deprived the temperance or- 
ganizations of their chief purpose, and in the process of Americaniza- 
tion many of their entertainment activities have disappeared. 

A number of secret societies and fraternal organizations have also 
been formed. Toward the close of the nineteenth century the 
Knights of Kaleva were organized in Montana, and their auxiliary 
organization of the Ladies of Kaleva appeared shortly afterward. 
These societies are in the main social and educational in purpose and 
aim at maintaining the unity of the Finnish-speaking people. Their 
membership is restricted to persons of Finnish extraction. The only 
benefit society of importance operates in the western states, having 
its headquarters in San Francisco. The socialist societies work inde- 
pendently of other Finnish societies and in conjunction with other 
American labor organizations. 

The press. The first Finnish newspaper in the United States was 
founded on April 14, 1876, by A. J. Muikku, a student from Finland, 
and was called Anierikan Suomalainen Lehti (The Finnish Newspaper 
of America). In all, only eleven numbers were printed. Since then 
about a hundred other periodicals have appeared, but few of them 
have survived long. 

A number of Finnish newspapers serve to promote Finnish national- 
ism, and these adopt a friendly attitude toward the church organiza- 
tions of the American Finns. Such are the New Yorkin Uutiset 
(New York News), which is published three times a week; the daily 
Paivalehti, published in Duluth, Minnesota; the American Sanomat 
(Tidmgs of America)^ a weekly with Republican sympathies, pub- 
lished at Fairport Harbor, Ohio; and the Minnesotan Uutiset ( Minne- 
sota News), of New York Mills, Minnesota, a biweekly. Also, many 
periodicals of a religious nature are published in Finnish. 

The Tyomies (Working Man), a socialist daily, is issued by the 
Tyomies Publishing Company at Superior, Wisconsin. Another 
daily, the Industrialisti of Duluth, is controlled by the International 
Workers (Finnish Group). The Raivaaja (Pioneer), a radical daily, 
is published by the Finnish supporters of the Workers Labor Party 
at Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The socialist publishing companies also 
issue yearbooks and various kinds of pamphlets. 

Assimilation. English is an especially ifiicult language for Finns 
to master, and this has been an obstacle to their Americanization. 
Nevertheless, they have not been slow in becoming naturalized. In 
1940, the United States census showed that 60.8 per cent of the 
foreign-bom Finnish men had become naturalized and 16 per cent 



had taken out their first papers; of the foreign-born women, 52.6 per 
cent had been naturahzed and 5 per cent had their first papers. 

The absorption of Finns into the American environment has been 
favored by the tendency of immigrants to move out from the bounds 
of their settlements. The homogeneity of racial groups is disappear- 
ing, and the cessation of immigration has made the loosening of many 
ties with Europe inevitable. Consequently, there has been a disposi- 
tion to promote the assimilative process. Many Finns of the second 
generation are intermarrying with members of other American groups, 
and the American-bom children of foreign-bom Finns often look 
with disfavor upon everything Finnish. They openly resist Finnish 
customs and traditions, fail to participate in immigrant institutions, and 
lose command of the Finnish language. Finnish Christian names are 
changed to their American equivalents — Toivo to Tovi, Tyyne to 
Mary — and surnames often suffer the same fate, as in the change from 
Koivumake to Hill. In the process of learning to speak Enghsh, the 
immigrants have given Finnish forms to English words, creating a 
kind of Finnish American. Dr, Kolehmainen has provided us with 
data on such Finnish- American words.® For example, the Finnish 
word for apples is omenia, the Finnish-American form is apylia. So 
farmer (maanviljelia in Finnish) is farmari; house (talo) is haussi; and 
bedroo 7 jt (makuuhuone) is petiruuma. The spread of the Enghsh 
language is apparent in the church. English is coming increasingly 
into use in Sunday Schools, confirmation classes, and young people’s 
work, as well as in church services. 

Politically most of the Finns are members of the socialist, tem- 
perance, or progressive parties, although the more Americanized 
Finns tend more and more to be ahgned with the traditional Re- 
publican or Democratic organizations. Professor Van Cleef traces 
the reason for their “leftist” tendencies — ^not long ago more than 25 
per cent of the Finnish immigrants were estimated to be sociahsts — 
to the days of Russian oppression. Many of them emigrated during 
that period and were filled with bitterness against established order 
of all lands. 

Finnish Americans and World War II. In 1939? *^he Finns were 
heroes in the eyes of the American pubhc. When Russia attacked 
Finland, most Finnish Americans — ^with the exception of the few 
communists — ^identified themselves with the cause, which was also 
popular with the American public. Although in the subsequent 

3 John I. Kolehmainen, “The Finnicisation of English in America,” American 
Sociological Review, February, 1937, pp. 62-66. 


years, Finns fought the same foe as in 1939-1940 — that is,i the Rus- 
sians — the somersaults of international trends placed the Finns on 
the wrong side of America’s interests. Russia had changed allegiance 
from Hitler to the United Nations, and thus Finland had become 
America’s indirect enemy. And thus, also, the Finnish Americans, 
while professing their love for America, could not, at the same time, 
give up their love for their country’s cause. “The whole situation 
is a puzzle, if not a headache, to the State Department and the Amer- 
ican public in general. How much more of a puzzle and much deeper 
a pain it is to the leaders of the loyal, democratic Finnish Americans 
and the editors of their newspapers!” * 

Contributions to American Life 

Although the number of Finns in America is not very large, their 
influence has been outstanding in the developirient of the country, 
especially in their capacity of pioneers and frontiersmen; it has been 
estimated that Finns have brought a million acres of land under culti- 

It is not generally known that a Finn made the first scientific study 
of the plants and animals of what is now the United States. He was 
Pehr Kahn, professor of economics and natural history in the Univer- 
sity of Abo, and one of the foremost scientists of northern Europe. 
Kalm landed in Philadelphia on September 15, 1738, and for two-and- 
a-half years traveled through the territory that now forms the states 
of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. On his return, he 
carried back with him to Linnaeus, whose pupil he was, a large collec- 
tion of plants, seeds, and insects. In 1751 he published an account of 
his studies entitled En resa till Norra Amerika ( A Journey to North 
America), which was subsequently translated into English, German, 
Dutch, and French. He was the first European scientist to describe 
Niagara Falls. 

Of the Finns who have traveled to America in recent years, the 
best known are Sibelius and Saarinen, one of the greatest composers 
and one of the greatest architects of our time. Sibelius’s reputation 
stands particularly high in the United States. In 1914 he came to 
America to conduct the premier of a symphonic poem composed for 

4 Yaroslav J. Chyz, “The War and the Foreign-Language Press,” Common Ground, 
III (Spring, 1943), pp. 3-10. For a moderate point of view of an American 
Finn, see John Saari, “Finnish Nationalism Justifying Independence,” in Joseph S. 
Roucek, Ed., The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, 
232 (March, 1944), pp. 33-3^^ 



the Norfolk, Connecticut, Musical Festival and received the honorary 
degree of Doctor of Music from Yale University. The performance 
of his “Second Symphony” by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie 
Hall on March 10, 1937, led the music critic of The New York Times 
to write in most eulogistic terms of this great work. Gottlieb Eliel 
Saarinen came to the United States in 1923 after gaining second place 
in the international contest for the design of the Chicago Tribune 
building. For a year he occupied the chair of architecture at the 
University of Michigan, having been invited there by Professor Emil 
Larch as a lecturer on design. Later he was employed by the Detroit 
Chapter of the American Institute of Architects to make a study of the 
river-front project. As architect of the railway stations in Helsinki 
and Viipuri and of the city halls in Lahti and Joensuu, Saarinen 
acquired an international reputation which was furthered by his plans 
for Sofia and other cities in Europe, the United States, and Australia. 

A number of other Finns are prominent in American life. Alfred 
J. E. Norton, head of the Norton Construction Company of New 
York, is of Finnish birth. Oscar J. Larson was elected to the House 
of Representatives in 1920, and several other men of Finnish descent 
have served in the state legislatures of Michigan, Minnesota, and other 
states. When James A. Farley, the Democratic national chairman, 
a week before the presidential election of 1936 took place, correctly 
predicted that his candidate. President Roosevelt, would be returned 
by forty-six states, his forecast was based on the graphs and tables 
of his assistant, Emil Hurja. The son of a Finnish immigrant, Hurja 
began his career as a gold miner in Alaska, later worked for a news- 
paper, and finally became a financial analyst. Dr. John Wargelin, 
the second president of Suomi College, was bom in Isokyro on 
September 26, 1881. Thorsten V. Kahjarvi was in 1944 executive 
director of the New Hampshire State Planning and Development 
Commission, on leave of absence from the University of New 
Hampshire as the head of the department of government. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

That Austria-Hungary was one of the large sources of recent immi- 
grants to the United States must not obscure the fact that the state 
of Austria, established at Versailles, was only a minor part of the 
former great empire. Classification of immigration before 1914 
from the Austrian Empire cannot be accepted as accurate from the 


standpoint of the immigrant groups that, after World War I, formed 
their own independent states — Czechoslovaks, Hungarians, Poles, 
Rumanians, and Yugoslavs, as well as Russians and Jews. 

Historically speaking, the immigration from Austria was unim- 
portant until the middle of the nineteenth century. The sudden 
increase after 1848 was caused by the revolution of 1848 and the 
interest of the Czechs in the gold discoveries in California. Gradually 
other national groups of the empire were drafted into the immigration 
exodus, and at the beginning of the i88o’s Austria was an important 
country in our immigration statistics. Although political dissatisfac- 
tion was a principal factor at the beginning, especially among the 
Czechs, the economic reasons became dominant in the later phase 
of the migration.^ Following World War I, Austria was reduced to 
one eighth of its former size. The tabulation prepared by the Bureau 
of Immigration gives a total of 39,400 immigrants from Austria during 
the years 1920-1936 inclusive. 

Austria and World War II. Austria was the first country swal- 
lowed by Hitler’s steam roller (1939), and a considerable number of 
Austrians took refuge on America’s soil, hoping either for the restora- 
tion of their country’s independence ® or for the restoration of the 
Habsburg Monarchy under the self-appointed claimant to this throne, 
“Otto of Austria.” ® In fact, Otto’s elforts on behalf of his claims 
had all the elements of musical comedy. Secretary of War Stimson, 
in a letter addressed to “Otto of Austria,” indicated that the govern- 
ment favored a restoration of the Habsburg Monarchy which was 
buried in 1918, although, in Lord Bryce’s words of the Holy Roman 
Empire, “its ghost sits crowned on the grave thereof.” Otto spoke of 
10,000,000 Americans of Austrian birth, which could only have in- 
cluded Yugoslavs, Czechs, and others who were glad to build their 
states on the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. When 
the War Department allowed Otto to organize a special “Austrian” 
legion, and when Otto, in his various lectures throughout the country, 
actually spoke of himself as emperor of the Croats, Slovenes, Czecho- 
slovaks, and Hungarians, who had in 1918 gained their national free- 
dom, a storm of protest broke loose in the United States. Partic- 

iFor a more detailed description of immigration data from Austria, see Maurice 
R. Davie, World Immigration, pp. 116-122. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1936. 

2 Cf. Ferdinand Czemin, “Austria’s Position in Reconstructed Europe,” pp. 71-76, 
in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 232 (March, 
1944), “A Challenge to Peacemakers.” 

3 Cf. Joseph S. Roucek, “The ‘Free Movements’ of Horthy’s Eckhardt and Aus- 
tria’s Otto,” The Public Opinion Quarterly, VII (Fall, 1943), pp. 466-476. 


21 I 

ularly indignant were the governments-in-exile of Poland, Czecho- 
slovakia, and Yugoslavia. The War and State departments had to 
disavow any notion of restoring the Habsburg dynasty, and Otto 
finally had to admit that not many Americans of Austrian descent 
were willing to join his “Legion.” The project had to be given up. 
The final doom to the Archduke’s dream to regain the throne of 

, D 

Austna was sealed by the conference of American, British, and Soviet 
foreign ministers in Moscow in their declaration on Austrian inde- 

Thereafter (1944), the Austrian Monarchists initiated a new line 
of activity in Washington, conducting propaganda to the end that 
they be appointed official “advisers” in Austrian affairs for the State 
Department. The “Military Committee for the Liberation of Aus- 
tria,” whose president was the “Emperor” himself, transformed itself 
into an “Austrian Institute.” 

Contributions to American Life 

Despite Austria’s small size, its contributions to America have been 
significant. Our music lovers still listen with rapture to the Viennese 
Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, and Fritz Kreisler. Both the late 
Madame Schumann-Heink, a beloved singer of America, and Madame 
Maria Jeritza, who made her fame as a member of the Viennese 
Imperial Opera Company and of the Metropolitan Opera Company 
of New York, were Austrians, although both were born on what is 
now the Czechoslovak territory. The great theater painter, the late 
Joseph Urban, came to America from Austria. Erich von Stroheim, 
a motion picture director and star, has made himself immortal with 
his directorial genius, which influenced the early development of 
Hollywood production. Luise Rainer, dark-haired Viennese actress, 
won twice the renowned “Oscar” award conferred by the Academy 
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Max Reinhardt, who began his 
career as an amateur actor in a Viennese theater, was one of the 
leaders during the twenties in the search to achieve the supreme possi- 
bilities of the modem theater. Bom in Vienna, and long a vigorous 
anti-Nazi, Paul Henreid made his way eventually to the Warner 
Brothers studio during World War II and was featured with such great 
stars as Ida Lupino, Bette Davis, and others. 

The late Dr. Gustav Lindenthal was a distinguished and famous 
American bridge builder and scientist. Professor Karl Landsteiner, 
formerly of the University of Vienna and then with the Rockefeller 
Institute for Medical Research, was awarded the Nobel Prize for 



Medicine in 1930. Professor Walter Consnelo Langsam is one of 
the best-known American historians. In the field of business are the 
names of Edward C. Blum, president of both the Abraham and Strauss 
store and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and Ralph Hitz, 
president of the Hotel New Yorker. Franklin Fischer, president of 
the Fischer Exhibits, Inc., has won countless blue-ribbon prizes for his 
now heralded technique of treating bakelite. One of the most famed 
lawyers, whose influence on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration 
was considerable, is Professor Felix Frankfurter. Bom in Vienna, 
he came to the United States in 1894, and after being professor in the 
Harvard Law School became a Supreme Court judge of the United 

The psychiatric school, founded by the Austrian neurologist 
Sigmund Freud, has had a marked influence on American psychology 
and sociology. Dr. Alfred Adler (who died in 1937), author of such 
works as Understanding Hwnan Nature and Problems of Neurosis, 
was professor of medical psychology in the Long Island Medical 
College. Dr, Dorian Feigenbauip, a founder of The Psychoanalytic 
Quarterly, was a friend of Dr, Sigmund Freud and an instructor in 
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. 
Erich von Hornbostel, a leading Gestalt psychologist, became a mem- 
ber of the University in Exile in New York. 

Karl Theodore Francis Bitter (1867-1915) landed in New York 
at twenty-two years of age with scarcely a penny in his pocket and, 
before three years had passed, was directing the colossal scheme of 
sculpture upon the Administration Building of the World’s Fair at 
Chicago in 1893. Before his death, at the age of 48, he had been 
director of sculpture at three expositions, a member of the Art Com- 
mission of New York City, and twice president of the National 
Sculpture Society (1906, 1914)/ 

In more recent years, we all have heard of Bruno Walter (con- 
ductor), Hedy Lamarr (motion picture actress) and Walter Slezak 
(character actor of Hollywood), Bruno Frank and Ernst Lothar 
(authors), Professor Felix Ehrenhaft, Professor Herman Marck (with 
Du Pont), Professor Langsteiner, Dr. Schwarzkopf, Professor Hans 
Kelsen (one of the great names in the field of political science and 
law), and Dr. Otto Benesch (professor of art history at Harvard 
University) . 

^See Adeline Adams, “Karl Theodore Francis Bitter,” Dictionary of American 
Biography y VoL II, pp. 303-305; F. Scheviil, Karl Bitter, Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1917. 



Joseph S. Roucek 

Hungarians are not “new” immigrants, as is commonly supposed, 
but have been coming to the United States for centuries. Some claim 
that a Magyar visited North America nearly five hundred years before 
Columbus.’- Scattered records exist of the activities of Hungarians 
in the United States throughout the colonial period and the first half 
of the eighteenth century, and it is certain that Hungarians played a 
more important part in America’s Revolutionary and Civil wars than 
is generally known. One of George Washington’s officers was the 
distinguished Hungarian, Colonel Michael Kovats. About eight 
hundred Hungarians served in the Union Army, of whom sixty to 
eighty were officers. The decided increase in the number arriving 
in the thirties and forties of the nineteenth century can be accounted 
for in part by the publication in Hungary in 1 834 of a record of obser- 
vations on America by Alexander Farkas de Boloni.^ 

The Hungarian Revolution of 1 848, which aroused great sympathy 
among the American people and in official circles, provided a further 
impetus to the immigration of exiled Hungarians. The first to seek 
haven in America was, it is said, Laszlo Ujhazy,® who arrived in New 
York on December 1 6, 1 849, with his family and several friends. His 
group settled in southern Iowa, acquired some 10,000 acres of land, 
and gradually attracted other colonists until New Buda, named after 
Hungary’s capital, was founded. The colony has been long entirely 

When Louis Kossuth arrived in New York in the autumn of 1851, 
he received a hearty welcome that was repeated in aU the cities that he 
visited; and the United States Congress, at the recommendation of 
the Ohio state legislature, passed a resolution offering him and his 

1 The Tyrker, or Turk, who according to the Icelandic saga discovered grapes at 
Vinland about the year looo a.d., might have been a Hungarian, although most of 
the later translators of and commentators on the Heimskingla take Tyrker to have 
been German. See J. Pivany, Hungarians in the American Civil War, p. 3, and 
Hungarian- American Historical Collections. 

2 Alexander Farkas de Boloni came to the new world in 1831 in the company of 
Count Ferenc Beldy. In Pittsburgh he met two other prominent Hungarians, Baron 
Farkas Wesselenyi and Paul Balogh, in whose company he was received by President 
Jackson. They were the first Hungarians entertained at the White House. 

3 Ujhazy has the distinction of possessing the first citizenship papers of the United 
States. He also became a postmaster and is considered the first Hungarian in the 
public service of the United States. In 1861 he was appointed United States consul 
at Ancona by President Lincoln. 


group the use of a vessel and free land on which to settle. Those who 
had followed him in exile from Hungary eventually joined him in 
the United States, as did others later who had first found refuge in 
Turkey, Italy, France, and England. Immigrants for political reasons, 
they were almost exclusively of the middle or upper classes, who 
hoped to be able, in a few years, to return to their native land. It 
was not long, however, before most of them had found permanent 
occupation here and were scattered throughout the United States. 

After the spurt induced by the Hungarian Revolution had spent 
itself, immigration continued on a smaller scale. In 1867 a number 
of the immigrants returned to Hungary, taking advantage of a poht- 
ical amnesty following the re-estabhshment of constitutional govern- 
ment in their homeland. 

In the eighties, Hungarians began to come to America in much 
larger numbers, drawn by the usual hope of a better livelihood in 
this vast new country. Those who were already here urged friends 
to join them in this America which offered such bright promise of a 
better order of things. Thus, in the latter part of the eighties, there 
were approximately 100,000 Hungarians in the United States, whereas 
in i860, according to Pivany’s estimate, there had been some 4,000. 
From 1883 to 1903, the average annual accession was 30,000; 1907 
was the peak year, when 60,071 were admitted. 

The majority of these were Slavs, but Magyars began coming in 
1899 until, by 1910, according to United States official statistics, there 
were 338,151 Hungarians in this country. Of this number, 227,742 
persons in the 1910 census gave Magyar as their mother tongue. 
Doubtless, all of these were not Magyar, inasmuch as all other minority 
nationalities of Hungary probably not only specified Hungary as 
their country of origin but Magyar as their language — a customary 
thing in that part of the world. 

The 1940 census shows a total of 453,000 who gave Magyar as their 
mother tongue, and of this number, 241,220 were foreign bom. 
Many Hungarians have returned home. Of the total Magyars in 
the United States, 30,034 of whom were admitted from 1920-1924, 
33,460 departed (a loss of 3,426); from 1925-1929, 5,464 arrived 
and 4,883 left (a gain of 581); from 1930-1940 emigration practically 
equaled immigration, an average of approximately 500 a year. 

Before 1915, there were about three times as many Hungarian men 
as women in the United States. Wives and children were frequently 
left at home and the men came with the intention of staying just long 
enough to make enough money to pay off the mortgage on their land. 



or to buy a little property, or to build a modest home on their farm. 
It frequently happened, however, that, on the return to their home- 
land, the lure of America was stiU so strong that they followed it 
once more and brought their families as well. The census of 1910 
enumerated 160.8 Magyar men to 100 women, but in 1920 there were 
120.5 males per 100 females, and the proportion had been reduced 
by 1940 to 1 01. 5 males per 100 females. The very recent tendency 
for whole famihes to remain here permanently is reflected in the 
speed with which the immigrants are being assimilated. In 1910, 
when most expected that their residence would be temporary, only 
15 per cent of the Magyars were naturalized. In 1920, 21. i per cent 
had become American citizens, and by 1940, 64.3 per cent had sworn 
allegiance to the United States. 

The total number of persons bom in Hungary, plus their native- 
born children now in this country, is difficult to determine. Offi- 
cially, there were 662,068 in 1940. On the other hand, experts who 
have made a careful study of Magyar settlements estimate that there 
are only from 300,000 to 400,000 Hungarians in the United States 
today, includhag their children. One reason for the difficulty is that 
the census now classifies immigrants accordmg to place of birth, so 
that those who emigrated from territories formerly Hungarian, but 
now under other sovereignties, are enumerated as Czechs, Yugoslavs, 
or Roumanians, rather than as Hungarians. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. The occupations of Hungarians in the United States 
are similar to those of any other group of citizens. Considerations of 
membership in a nationality group probably have had little to do with 
the choice of profession, which has been determined rather by the 
social class to which the individual belonged or by his own natural 
aptitudes and abilities. Magyar immigrants of the laboring classes 
are to be found in greatest numbers in iron and steel manufacturing, 
bituminous coal mining, the making of agricultural implements, silk 
dyeing, and sugar refining. A considerable number have found 
employment in the coal mines of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, 
while viniculturists have been employed rather extensively by grape- 
growers in Ohio and California. Some Hungarians have opened 
restaurants and tailoring establishments and other shops. Others are 
cabinet makers, tool makers, carpenters, blacksmiths, bricklayers, 
wheelwrights, stone masons, locksmiths, painters, shoemakers, and 


While most are engaged in industry and trade, many have drifted 
into agriculture to satisfy their thirst for land ownership. Budapest, 
Georgia, a Hungarian farming community established after World 
War I, does not exist any more; the same applies to Kossuthville 
(Kossuthfalva) , Florida, near Winter Haven, which was an ambitious 
plan during the prosperous years before 1929. Edmund Vasvary, 
auditor of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, chartered 
by the Congress in 1907, claims that “there is no exclusively Hun- 
garian village or town anywhere. The nearest is Fairport Harbor, 
Ohio, where the entire village consists of Hungarians and Finns, the 
only place in the world where the two related nations live together. 
Most of the Hungarian farmers live in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and 

Magyars in America differ from other eastern and central European 
immigrant groups in that an unusually large number are of the intel- 
ligentsia and professional classes. In the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, many of them were political exiles, as has already been 
pointed out. After World War I, a large number of lawyers, physi- 
cians, engineers, former state officials, and a variety of other repre- 
sentatives of the middle class emigrated to America because of unsatis- 
factory conditions in the defeated country.^ The permeation of 
all walks of hfe in America by Hungarians tends to disintegrate the 
prewar colonies of arrivals who, seeldng friends of the same nation- 
ality, had congregated in specific sections of our cities and estabUshed 
purely Hungarian settlements. Today there are few left. One such 
settlement was Himlerville (now called Beauty), Kentucky, the only 
all-Magyar mining town founded after World War I. Social distinc- 
tions, furthermore, have in many cases created a barrier between the 
professional class and the uneducated workingman. The divergent 
points of view of the assimilated and of recent un-Americanized 
arrivals also help to prevent the establishment of common purposes 
and interests. 

Religion. Although the Hungarian peasant is a devout church- 
goer, retaining this inclination to a lesser degree in America, the 
intelligentsia is prone to give up interest in organized religion. 
Further, Hungarian clergymen, particularly the younger element, 
frequently are at variance, often actually clashing with members of 
their congregations. 

^It is of interest that some years ago chemical engineers were brought from 
Sarvar, Hungary, to Hopewell, Virginia, to participate in the prodnction gf artificial 



The American Reformed, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches 
early came into contact with Hungarian groups. At about the same 
time that the Board of Home Missions of the Reformed Church in 
the United States was directing its attention to the needs of Hun- 
garians in the United States, missionaries were also being dispatched 
from Hungary to establish centers of worship for their people here. 
The first Hungarian congregation was organized by Reverend Gideon 
Acs, an exiled Calvinist minister, in New York in 1852. The first 
Hungarian church building was, however, erected in Pittsburgh in 
1892 where a second missionary, the Reverend John Kovacs, had 
been commissioned in 1891. Since 1900, there has been a definite 
trend away from the Hungarian Reformed Church to the Hungarian 
Reformed Church of America. A Hungarian department, the only 
chair of its kind in America, at Franklin and Marshall College in 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, supported by the Reformed Church, was 
discontinued about 1936. 

The Free Magyar Reformed Church in America was established 
on December 9, 1924, at Duquesne, Pennsylvania. It is not exactly 
a continuation of the former Hungarian Reformed Church in Amer- 
ica, although it corresponds to it in faith, government, and so on, and 
its constituency is made up to a certain degree from that of the 
former church. 

Professor Frank Kovach of the Bloomfield College and Seminary, 
Bloomfield, New Jersey, estimates that since 1891 approximately 190 
churches or mission centers have been established. He makes this 
interesting comment: “Most of these churches are only a generation 
old. Charter members are still to be found in every one of them. 
Their membership, however, divides them into two distinct groups 
— ^the older and the newer generation. Roughly, the older generation 
desires a worship and work of the church as it was in the old country, 
while the younger is eager to be American both in worship and life.” 

Survival of “old-world” patterns. The Hungrian-American neigh- 
borhood stiU has many of the characteristics of the small peasant vil- 
lage. The two strongest bonds of this type are the Sogorak and the 
Komak.^ The former term refers to certain affinal relatives, such as 
an in-law; the latter, to godparents. Sogor is a very friendly term, and 
a good friend may be addressed as Sogor out of courtesy. A Koma 
is a godfather, and the Komak is a reciprocal relationship between the 
parents and godparents of a child. Those who stand in the Komak 

6 Natalie Joffe, Hungarian Food Fattems, Washington, D. C.: The Conmiittee of 
Food Habits, National Research Council, 1943, 


relationship may form a group of some size, as there are separate god- 
parents for each child. All those who stand in the Sogorak and 
Komak relationship must be invited to attend baptisms, weddings, 
name-day feasts, and funerals. Elaborate seating arrangements, a 
definite order in which names must be recited, and other traditional 
forms are always observed. The force of these ties often carries 
well into the third generation. 

Food folkways are very important in Hungary, where elaborate 
food symbolism had grown up around calendar events and critical 
periods in the life of the individual. Little of these remain in the 
life of Hungarian Americans, who have largely given up their practice 
of eating frequent meals; instead they conform to the American meal 
schedules. But there has been little alteration in the diet of those born 
in Hungary. Only one example can be given: white rolls, which 
were formerly an urban or hohday food, can be had in every corner 
store; but they have by no means replaced sour rye bread. 

Organizations. Above the family relations and ties are those of the 
organizational alEliations. Many of the organizations, particularly 
the mutual-benefit societies, were begun prior to 1900 when most 
of the Hungarians in America were single men between the ages of 
20 and 35. Those who were married kept boarding houses where 
the bachelors Hved. Lonely, and dreading sickness and a pauper’s 
burial in a strange land, the residents of several boarding houses often 
clubbed together to put up money as sickness or death insurance. In 
time, some of the groups expanded into large benefit societies.® 

The formal organizational ties of the societies are the strongest 
associational bonds in Hungarian-American life. These societies act 
as a cohesive force. Even churches and political groups use the 
society mechanism to hold their members together, and to this end 
they support numerous subsidiary societies. In addition to the sick 
benefit and insurance orders there are social clubs, singing and 
dramatic groups, athletic societies, and the hke. A good many 
societies have been organized for sick benefits, funeral expenses, 
insurance, or some other philanthropic purpose; others are directly 
connected with churches or are branches of local or larger national 
organizations. The Verhovay (Aid Association) of Pittsburgh, with 
a membership of 32,000, is the largest Hungarian sick-benefit and 
insurance organization in this country; next in size is the American 
Federation of Hungarian Sick Benefit Societies at Bridgeport, Con- 

® Andrew A, Marchbin, “Hungarian Activides in Western Pennsylvania,” Western 
Penmylvania Historical Magazine , XXIII (1940), p. 165. 



necticut. The Hungarian Reformed Federation is also a large insur- 
ance and funeral-expense society and is the only Hungarian organiza- 
tion that has a national charter, granted by the United States Congress, 
and its headquarters in its own building in the national capital. 

The impact of World War 11 . The fortunes of World War II, 
which placed Hungary on the side of Nazi Germany, produced con- 
fusion in the minds of all classes of Hungarian Americans. Immedi- 
ately after World War I, there were no Hungarian- American picnics 
or social gatherings without a period being devoted to the reiteration 
of the need for treaty revisionism. Budapest propaganda saw to it 
that these people believed that the postwar treaties — and particularly 
the so-called Trianon Treaty — were unjust to Hungary. 

But the matter became complicated when America joined World 
War II. Hungary, more than any other country in Europe, had 
benefited by Hitler’s “New Order.” Its territorial aggrandizements 
were reahzed to the disadvantage of two members of the United 
Nations — Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Its armies, furthermore, 
fought Russia beside Hitler’s armies, and in addition Budapest declared 
war on Great Britain and the United States. 

By 1943, however, Budapest, aware that the Allies would not con- 
firm the grants of Hitler and Mussolini, tried its utmost to secure its 
territorial gains. Its propaganda adopted the line of self-preservation: 
Hungary had been compelled to yield to Germany because its open 
frontiers and poorly equipped army could not have resisted the 
onslaught of Nazi aggression. The impression was created that 
Horthy’s clique had always been secretly pro-British and democratic.’' 

This was all rather confusing to the Hungarian Americans, as is 
illustrated by the American-Hungarian Federation, which represents 
some 600,000 Hungarian Americans. Anti-Nazi, it was at the same 
time “revisionist” — that is, it favored claiming all the territories 
Horthy had occupied as accessory to Hitler. As the representative 
of the three greatest and oldest Hungarian societies, numbering about 
100,000 members and about 100 religious communities, it held a 
convention in Pittsburgh on November 27, 1941. When it came to 
a showdown between Nazis and anti-Nazis at the convention, the 
majority decided in favor of wholehearted acceptance of the official 

Rustem Vambery, The Himgarttm Problem. New York: The Nation, 1942; 
Joseph S. Roucek, “The ‘Free Movements’ of Horthy’s Eckhardt and Austria’s 
Otto,” Public Opinion Quarterly, VII (Fall, 1943), pp. Roucek, “Foreign 

Language Press in World War II,” Sociology and Social Research, XXVII (July- 
August, 1943), pp. 462-471. 


policy of the American government. But, again paradoxically 
enough, this same federation sponsored the strange “Free Hungary 
movement of Tibor Eckhardt, whose visit to the United States in 
1941 created a furor among the prodemocratic and pro-Allied forces 
in the United States, and who earned for himself such names as the 
“Hungarian Hess” and “the first of Horthy’s paratroops in America.” 

The same confusion of conflicting aims and hopes was exhibited 
by the Hungarian- American Press. The Hungarian Egyetertes^ P^^“ 
lished in Bridgeport, Connecticut, had supported, before Pearl Harbor, 
the pro-Axis regime in Budapest. W^hen the United States declared 
war on Hungary in the spring of 1942, Egyetertes ran a perfunctory 
editorial urging its readers to help the American war effort. In 
another column on the same page it remarked, however, that the 
situation is no different from before, except that unnaturalized Hun- 
garians must be more careful of what they say.” 

The press. The first Hungarian journal published in the United 
States was the Magyar Szamwzottek Lapja (Bulletin of the Hun- 
garian Exiles) j founded in 1853 by Hungarian exiles. It had 118 
subscribers. The first regular Hungarian newspaper was the Magy ar- 
American^ edited by William Loew and Arcadius Avelbanus. The 
first issue appeared in New York City on June 1 5, 1879, although 
the publication was soon discontinued, it gave impetus to the founda- 
tion of other Hungarian newspapers. The Magy ar-Amerika was a 
literary magazine. The first Hungarian-American newspaper really 
devoted to Hungarian-American life was started in 1884 with the 
establishment of the Amerikai Magyar-Nemzetor (American Guardian 
of the Nation}^ edited by Gustav Erdelyi. In 1891 the Szabadsag 
(Liberty) was published in Cleveland as a weekly by Tihamer 
Kohanyi; it became a daily in 1900. The largest Hungarian news- 
paper in America, the Amerikai Magyar Nepszam (Peoples^ Voice), 
published by Geza Berko, started as a weekly in New York in 1900 
and became a daily four years later. Today it has four editions — 
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and a general edition. Several 
other daily newspapers were started but did not survive. In all, from 
1884 to 1920, sixty-seven Magyar newspapers were started and forty- 
one expired. Some twenty-five appear regularly today; their edi- 
torial policies reflect the groups they represent. 

Contributions to American Life 

Hungarians have made a distinct contribution to the upbuilding 
of America. Coming from their native country in search of Hbei^ 


and wealth, they brought treasures of their own. They brought with 
them health and strong and rugged bodies to enable them to play a 
real part in the material development of this new land; to take their 
place in America’s great army of industrial workers who, by their 
sweat and labor, paid with their blood for the comfort and higher 
standard of living attained in this country. 

Aside from this cumulative contribution of the working man, many 
Hungarian Americans have achieved wide fame in the purely cultural 
field. Reverend Charles E. Schaeffer eloquently reminds us that^ 

a Hungarian [Colonel Kovats] was a cavalry drillmaster of . . . Wash- 
ington. A Hungarian [Augustine Maraszthy] planted the first . . . tokay 
grapes in California. Another [John Xantus] enriched the Smithsonian 
Institute with unknown species of plants and animals. He was elected 
an honorary member of three great American scientific societies. In 
Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia hang two great paintings of “Christ 
before Pilate” and “Christ on Golgotha,” the work of Munkacsy. His 
“Milton’s Paradise Lost” hangs in the 42nd Street Library, New York 
City. A year ago the Ladies^ Home Journal published an article in which 
reference was made to the fact that every year 7,000 American mothers 
die of childbirth fever, but 85 years ago, a Hungarian, Semmelweis, 
showed how this tragic occurrence can be totally prevented. It is not 
generally known that the builder of the first skyscraper in New York was 
a Hungarian. From an onion-growing town of Hungary there came to 
America a boy who was so poor that his first bed was a bench in the 
park. On a cold winter night, he entered a hotel to get warmed in the 
lobby. He was thrown out. Twenty years later this same boy paid 
$635,000 for this same hotel, and afterwards bought the newspaper, the 
World, for $340,000. With his own hands he traced the blueprints of 
the World building, which he never saw, for he was smitten with total 
blindness early in his career. But he became the newspaper king of the 
metropolis, Joseph Pulitzer. I mention these facts, and they could be 
multiplied by the score, to show that the Hungarians in America are by 
no means an inferior class, and they deserve to be regarded as an asset 
rather than a liability. 

* Abundant testimony of the preceding statement could be given by 
calling the roll of leading Hungarians in the United States. There 
are fifty-six university and college professors in America who are 
Hungarians or of Hungarian descent. In the theater are many famous 
names, and three pioneers of the motion-picture industry are Adolph 
Zukor,® William Fox, and Marcus Loew. Others could be called 

sThe Reverend C. E. Schaeffer, “Perspective in Evangelical Hungarian Work,” 
Home Missions Council (105 East 22nd Street, New York, 1935), Annual Report 
19 S 4 - 19 SS} PP- 3 S“ 39 * 

9 See Will Irwin, The House That Shado'ws Built, p. 8. Garden City, N. Y.: 
Doubleday, Dotan, 1928. 



from business, the professions, and the arts. In the arts, only the 
field of music and of the motion pictures can be presented. 

The Magyar Americans have produced more than their share of 
successful composers. Victor Jacobi composed “Marriage Market,” 
“Sybill,” “Rambler Rose,” “Riveria Girl,” “Apple-blossoms,” and so 
on. Armand Vecsey wrote “Rose of China,” “Hotel Mouse,” and 
“The Nightingale.” Karoly Hajos and Sigmond Romberg are the 
composers of “May Time,” “Magic Melody,” “Student Prince,” and 
“Song of the Desert.” Dr. Eugene Ormandy, conductor of the 
Minneapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, has now become the successor 
to Leopold Stokowski as conductor of the famous Philadelphia Phil- 
harmonic Orchestra. Erno Rapee is music director of the Radio City 
Music Hall in New York City. Fritz Reiner is conductor of the 
Cincinnati and of the Philadelphia orchestras. Fritz Reiner and 
Edward Kdlenyi are leaders in the field of orchestral music. Sandor 
Harmati, who died in 1936, won the Pulitzer prize in music in 1922 
for his “Symphony Poem” and conducted many famous orchestras, 
both in America and abroad. Josef Honti, Hungarian pianist, is 
one of the three staff directors of music for the National Broadcasting 
Company of New York. During the 1943-1944 season, one of 
Broadway’s great hits was the streamhned revival of “The Merry 
Widow,” which starred Jan Kdepura and Marta Eggerth (Mrs. 
Edepura), the latter a native of Hungary, who had appeared in 
German, British, and American films. 

In 1943, Paul Lukas was selected by a committee of the National 
Board of Review of Motion Pictures for outstanding acting in the 
motion picture, “Watch on the Rhine,” a role he originated on the 
stage. As Pal Lukacs, a native of Hungary, he made his fame on the 
Hungarian stage, was invited to Hollywood by Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer, and has become one of America’s most popular actors on the 
stage as well as on the screen. Ferenc Molnar’s plays have always 
been represented on Broadway. The Hungarian Roth Quartet gave 
in 1943 an all-American program of chamber music in the Museum of 
Modem Art in New York under the auspices of the National Asso- 
ciation for American Composers and Conductors. Sir Alexander 
Korda’s brother, Zoltan Korda, followed in his brother’s footsteps as 
a great film producer by signing in 1943 a new producer-director 
contract with Columbia. Joe Pasternak and Henry Koster made 
themselves famous as film producers and directors. 

Dr. Emil Lengyel, assistant professor at New York University, is 
well known throughout the country as a lecturer and author of such 



works as The Danube^ Siberia, and numerous others. Dr. Joseph 
Remenyi, professor of comparative literature in Western Reserve 
University, and radio lecturer of Cleveland College, Western Reserve 
University, is the author of some seventeen books. Dr. Franz 
Alexander was invited in 1932 to become director of the Chicago 
Instimte for Psychoanalysis and has devoted most of his time to the 
study of the influence of emotional factors upon bodily disturbances. 
The results have been incorporated in his book. Our Age of Unreason. 
A Hungarian-bom emigre joumahst, Stefan Lorant, published in 1941 
Lincoln: His Life in Pictures, considered “the best sequence of Lincoln 
photographs ever issued in book form.” Lorant was also author of 
the best-selling I Was HitlePs Prisoner, which British editor Wickham 
Steed said would outlast the Third Reich. Tibor Koeves, Hungarian- 
born author, whose first American book, on the delights of travel, was 
Timetable for Tramps, made another hit with a biography of Franz 
von Papen, published as Satan in a Top Hat. 


Francis J. Brown 

The name of these peoples is often spelled Romanians, which indi- 
cates their presumed ethnic origin as descendants of an early Roman 
settlement in central Europe. Whether or not this is their actual 
origin, the term as used in this section refers to an ethnic group rather 
than to those who lived within the shifting political boundaries of 
Rumania (sometimes also spelled Roumania). 

There is one serious difiiculty in using this connotation: statistics 
on immigration are based on “country of origin.” In the vicissitudes 
of European wars and politics, Rumania has at various times been 
under the dominance of Russia, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, and 
Bulgaria. It has varied in size like an accordion from 50,000 to 
125,000 square miles, and provinces such as Transylvania and Bes- 
sarabia have changed hands several times. Through it all, however, 
the Rumanians have retained a high degree of cultural autonomy and 
a deep sense of nationality. 


As was true of nearly all “new” immigrant groups, pioneers pre- 
ceded the major migration. At least two of these won their place 
in history because of their outstanding record in the Qvil War: 
Captain Nicolae Dunca and General Gheorghe Pomutz. In 1944, 


as a result of the activities of Rumanian Americans, a Liberty ship 
was named for the latter. The real stream of emigrants from 
Rumania did not begin, however, until late in the nineteenth century. 
Only eleven arrived during the decade 1871 to 1880, and there were 
but 19,109 before 1900. During the next decade 53,008 came, but the 
number dropped back during the decade of World War I to 13,311. 
The ten years immediately following brought 67,646, most of them 
coming between 1921 and 1925. As in the case of all “new” immi- 
grant groups — the quota immigration laws having based the number 
of arrivals on the number in the United States and with each revision 
having shifted the period further back — ^Rumania’s annual quota was 
decreased and since 1935 has been 377 per year. The number of 
arrivals from 1931 to 1940 was 3,871, and from 1941 to 1943 was 
234. The total was 157,179. 

If census figures are used (see Table VII, page 644) , the number 
of white stock who give Rumania as “country of origin” is: 1910, 
92,854; 1920, 167,399; 1930, 293,453; and 1940, 247,700. Of those of 

1940. 1 1 5.940 were foreign born and another 103,060 had both parents 
bom in Rumania. The percentage of foreign bom decreased from 
61 per cent in 1910 to 47 per cent in 1940, but was still considerably 
higher than the national average, 33 per cent. 

All of the preceding data were derived, as such figures had to be, 
from a political basis, that is, the fluctuating boundary fines of 
Rumania. Therefore, although they are significant, they do not 
reveal the ethnic groups to which the immigrants belonged. Ap- 
proximately a third of the immigrants from Rumania were Jews, 20 
per cent were Saxons, and 6 per cent were Magyars. This fact is 
forcefully evidenced in the 1940 census data on mother tongue. Of 
the more than 240,000 who gave Rumania as country of origin, only 
65,520 fisted Rumanian as their mother tongue. Similarly, although 

1 15.940 were foreign bom from political Rumania, but approximately 
one third, or 43,120, spoke Rumanian. 

If Rumanians are asked to indicate their number in the United 
States, some will say as few as 35,000, and others will place the n um ber 
even as high as between 400,000 and 500,000. The most reliable 
figure, as was pointed out in Chapter II, is that based on the combina- 
tion of nativity and mother tongue; for the Rumanians, then, it is 
probably not much in excess of the census figure, 65,000. Even with 
the addition of those of the third generation who lived in English- 
speaking homes, the number is still under 100,000. 



The number has been stressed, not, as it may appear, to lessen the 
importance of this group, but to illustrate a fact that characterizes the 
data on many other European groups from little Albania to the 
U. S. S. R. — ^the difference between ethnic and political classification. 

Regardless of the ethnic group, the causes of emigration to America 
are the same as for those from many other countries: persecution, wars, 
and low economic stams. The first resulted in bringing several thou- 
sand refugees to America, and, in recent years, the larger proportion 
of these have been Jews. The third gave America tens of thousands 
of unskilled farm laborers, estimated at approximately 90 per cent 
of the total. 

, Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

By the time Rumanian immigration had reached significant num- 
bers, the opportunity for those without a reserve of funds to enter into 
farming had practically disappeared. There were opportunities to 
earn a livelihood only in the cities. Keeping the 90 per cent figure 
in mind, the 1940 census reveals a significant fact concerning all 
Rumanian Americans: 88.5 per cent were urban, 5.9 per cent were 
rural nonfarm, and 5.6 per cent lived on rural farms. The percentage 
remains almost identical but is reversed. Men, accustomed for gen- 
erations to the out-of-doors and varied and seasonal activities of 
agriculture, were forced to adjust themselves to the monotonous 
routine of work in the mill, the factory, or the mine. 

The few who continued in farming and sheepherding are largely in 
the states of New Jersey and Connecticut in the East, Ohio and the 
Dakotas in the Middle West, and, in the Far West, Montana, Wyo- 
ming, and California. Many have been extremely successful, al- 
though even in agriculture few of the methods that were practiced 
in the old world could be carried over to the new. 

Those who sought the social cohesion and security of city life went 
almost entirely to the large industrialized urban communities or to 
the mining areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Table XI (page 646) 
indicates this concentration, varying from 300 in Alliance, Ohio, to 
40,655 in New York City. It is graphically shown in Figure 4. 

Another problem of adjustment, common to several other national 
groups, faced these new immigrants. Until World War I, approxi- 
mately 90 per cent of those who came were single men. Family life 
was impossible, a further factor in influencing the majority to seek 
thei? livelihood m cities. Here they rented rooms in tho same bnild- 


ing, often fifty or more in the same boarding house. Associating to- 
gether retarded their acculturation, even their learning of the English 

Since 1918, this situation has changed rapidly. The wave of 
immigration in the decade after World War I was composed chiefly 
of women and children — the families of those who had preceded 
them. Marriage outside of their own ethnic group came to be 

accepted. Boarding-house existence was changed to family life. 
The 1940 census gives the ratio of men to women as 108.4 
(113.3 among foreign-bom Rumanians) to each 100 women. This 
ratio is still higher than the national average of 103.3 but is in sharp 
contrast to the 1910 ratio. 

Another interesting situation among Rumanian Americans is that 
although they are concentrated in the larger cities, there are com- 
paratively few places in which Rumanian-speaking groups are pre- 
dominant as compared with other ethnic groups from the old country. 
These places are Canton, Warren, Youngstown, and Akron, Ohio; 
East Chicago and Gary, Indiana; Dearborn, Highland Park, and 
Detroit, Michigan; Newark and Trenton, New Jersey, and Aurora, 

* From The Neiv Pioneer, 11, No. 2 (July 1944), p. 50. (Data from 1940 Census.) 



It will be noted, too, that not one of the cities listed is in the South 
or the Far West. By far the larger number of Rumanians live within 
six states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, and 
New Jersey. States having from 1,500 to 5,000 are California, 
Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Mis^uri. Many of the 
Rumanians in the latter group of states live in small villages or on 
farms. (See Figure 4.) 

Religion. The church has played a leading role among the 
Rumanian people, both Jews and Gentiles. Among the Rumanian 
ethnic group, approximately 70 per cent are Greek Orthodox, a little 
more than 20 per cent are Greek Catholic, and the remainder are 
scattered among Protestant groups, with a preponderance of Bap- 

The Greek Orthodox Church has had an interesting social evolu- 
tion. No trained clergy came with the first emigrants, and laymen 
who could chant the Byzantine prayers were selected to serve in their 
stead. It was not until 1923 that a group of eight priests came to 
Cleveland to assist in the work of the thirty-one churches and thirty- 
eight schools that had been already established through the earnest 
efforts of those who found their religion a vital bond between their life 
in the villages of Rumania and in the congested areas of industrialized 
America. Since 1935, Reverend Policarp Morushea has worked to 
coordinate their efforts, as Bishop and head of the Mission and the 
Rumanian Orthodox Episcopate in America and in the western Euro- 
pean countries. He has sought to make the church a culture-social 
center and, in extending it to include benefits to the sick and the aged, 
has reached into the field of activities of the benefit societies. It is 
hoped that close cooperation will be maintained, as both the church 
and the societies have developed through many years of struggle. 

In contrast, the Greek Catholics have had an educated clergy from 
the beginning, many of them holding college degrees. There are 
eighteen churches and several parochial schools. The latter, with the 
exception of a full-time primary grade school in Detroit, are more 
like Protestant Sunday Schools. The Detroit school is conducted in 
both EngHsh and Rumanian. 

The American Baptist Home Mission Society has been an effective 
agency among Rumanian Americans. Since 1910, sixteen Rumanian 
Baptist churches have been established and as many Sunday Schools. 
The membership is not large, approximately 1,000, but their influence 
has been greater than the number would imply, as they have not only 
assisted in keeping high the standards of conduct but have also inter- 


preted American customs, folkways, and values. Through their 
publication, Lummo-toral (The Light), they have kept in contact 
■with other American Baptists and, through spiritual and social values 
held in common, have eased the process of acculturation and assimila- 
tion. A 

Organizations. Although Rumanians Hve in urban areas, they do 
not as a rule form small “culture islands.” There is no equivalent of 
“Little Italy” in New York, “Little Poland” in Buffalo, or “China- 
town” in San Francisco. In a single city there will be a number of 
groups, often only of a few families, hving ia the same neighborhood. 
This fact has markedly influenced the development of social and 
fraternal organizations that thrive most readily in a homogeneous and 
contiguous social group. Over the years, a number of local organ- 
izations developed, but for the most part, their chief purpose was 
mumal benefits: insurance for health and old age. In 1944 they were 
organized into two groups: the Union and League of Rumanian 
Societies, and the International Workers Order. The former had 
approximately 5,000 members, the latter about 2,500. 

More recently, other types of organizations have developed. The 
National Rumanian Committee of Cleveland was organized for partic- 
ipation in pohtical activities. The Legion of Rumanian Volunteers 
sought to instill love of America in its youthful members. A new 
organization, the Cultural Associations of Americans of Romanian 
Descent, was estabhshed on October 13, 1940, in Cleveland and soon 
attained a membership of nearly 1,000. October 8 has been estab- 
lished as “Culture Day” for all Rumanian Americans. The letter of 
call for the first meeting so completely embodies the aspiration of aU 
new immigrant groups that it is quoted here. It was signed by 
Theodore Andrica of Harvard University, who was elected the first 
president of the association. 

“The initiators of this letter strongly feel that there must be thousands 
of persons of Romanian descent in the United States who would like to 
associate with one another on a cultural level, leaving fraternal, political 
and religious affiliations aside; men and women who are interested in in- 
telligent and true Americanism but who stiU feel and appreciate the bonds 
of common ancestry; persons who are willing to do something to help 
Americans of Romanian descent advance to higher places in our American 

The first general meeting of The Cultural Association was held on 
Dec. I, 1940 in Cleveland when the Constitution and By Laws of the or- 
ganization were adopted and officers were elected. 

The purposes of the Association include the following points: 



To help create among the American people the unity and understanding 
resulting from a common citizenship, a common belief in democracy ana 
the ideals of liberty, the placing of the common good before the interests 
of any group and the acceptance, in fact as well as in law, of all American 
citizens, whatever their national or racial origins, as equal partners in 
American society. 

To disseminate information and to further an appreciation of what 
Americans of Romanian descent have contributed to the United States 
of America. 

To increase the respect and understanding of Americans of Romanian 
descent and of the older stock of Americans for each other and to help 
Americans of Romanian descent better understand their cultural and na- 
tionality background. 

To issue a periodical, in English, dealing with general cultural subjects 
and with the various aspects of the Romanian background in relation to 
life in the United States. 

In general, to aid Americans of Romanian immigrant ancestry to ad- 
vance higher in American life. 

In this letter is embodied the twofold struggle; the desire to retain 
the culture of the old world yet to use it as the basis for heightening 
loyalty to the new world through easing the process of culture 
adjustment; and, the effort to provide a channel through which old 
and young may participate together in the feast days, the holidays 
(Rumanian and American), the songs and dances of old and new 
worlds, and thereby develop a common sense of values and of appre- 
ciation — ^youth for the land of their parents, oldsters for the adopted 
land that has set the cultural pattern of their children. 

Effects of World War II. The conflicting pohtical interests in 
Rumania inevitably have been reflected in the attitudes of Rumanian 
Americans. Many were disillusioned when Rumania cast her lot 
with the Nazis. Efforts were made to salvage the Rumanian cause 
for the democratic forces. One group was represented by the 
Ru manian American Alliance for Democracy, with headquarters in 
Cleveland and Detroit, backed principally by the Union and League 
of Rumanian Cultural and Beneficial Societies. It was under the 
leadership of Carol Davilla, former Rumanian minister to Washington, 
who, on being recalled from Washington during King Carol’s ruler- 
ship, refused to return and thereafter became prominent in various 
anti-Carol activities in the United States. The other movement was 
“Free ' Rumania,” with headquarters in Detroit, whose principal 
objective was to support the political aspirations of former King Carol 
of Rumania. Its goal was opposed by the United States authorities, 
for on November 17, 1942, the United States Department of Justice 


announced the indictment by a Detroit federal grand jury of three 
officials of the Free Rumania movement, who allegedly were not 
registered as foreign agents while seeking to gain admittance of former 
King Carol to the United States. Both the Alliance for Democracy 
and the Free Rumania groups were bitterly assailing each other’s 
motives through their official pubhcations. To obtain the aid of the 
more “apathetic” Rumanians in their private quarrel, the pro-Carolists 
called the anti-Carolists communists, and the anti-Carohsts alleged 
that the pro-Carohsts were fascists. 

Whatever will be the eventual fate of Rumania, the final settlement 
will bring a lessening of the divisive influence and a re-estabhshment 
of cultural values. In the meantime, basic behavior patterns have 
been httle ajffected, and the unifying influence of active participation 
of Rumanian Americans in the war effort has more than offset the 
activities of internal factions reflecting old-world conflicts. 

The press. Like the organizations, the press has sought to serve 
the same twofold purpose: retention of interest in things Rumanian 
and consequent strengthening of the sohdarity of the group, and, 
assistance to Rumanian Americans in their adjustment to American 
life. The publications that have been the most permanent and that 
aspire to be national m scope include America., a Detroit weekly 
pubhshed continuously for nearly forty years; Voia Poporului (The 
People’s News) pubhshed in Cleveland and serving the interests of 
the church and the fraternal organizations; Desteptarea (Awakening) 
also pubhshed in Detroit, which speaks for the Rumanian Socialist 
workers; Viata Nona (The New Life), which serves the American 
bom of Rumanian descent and is bihngual; Solia (The Jerald), started 
in 1935 and pubhshed by the Rumanian Orthodox Episcopate of 
America; and The New Pioneer, a quarterly magazine begun in 1943 
and pubhshed by the Cultural Association for Americans of Romanian 
Descent. It is pubhshed in English and includes articles on the culture 
and history of Rumania and of America with news notes on cultural 
activities of, local and national Rumanian groups. The 1944 faU 
number was a special issue giving the mihtary record of several 
thousands of the Rumanian Americans who are serving in the armed 
forces, and several other issues included pictures of sons and daughters, 
many in service, of members of the organization. 

Naturalization. One indication of the extent of cultural assimila- 
tion is the percentage of ahens of a given country who have become 
naturahzed citizens. For the Rumanians, this figure is 68.6 per cent, 
4 per cent above the average for all the foreign-bom white population 



in the United States in 1940. Two factors account for this per- 
centage: one, the assimilative process; the other, the return to the 
homeland of some 43,000 Rumanians from 1910 to the outbreak of 
World War II. 

Contributions to American Life'^ 

The dedication of the original edition of this book is applicable 
to the contributions of Rumanian Americans, for they have con- 
tributed both through the “toil of their hands” in factories and shops 
and mines and through the “genius of their minds” in every cultural 
and intellectual field. 

The Rumanian Americans have given a large number of outstanding 
personalities to their country of adoption: Alma Gluck, of the Metro- 
politan Opera Company; Konrad Bercovici, of world-wide fame for 
his short stories and books, who while very young left his half-Jewish, 
half -gypsy family in Braila and struggled ia the lower East Side of 
New York until finally his genius brought him fame and financial 
success; Dr. Trajan Leucutsia, of a distinguished Transylvanian family, 
who studied in Vienna and Paris and is director of the X-Ray Depart- 
ment of Harper Hospital in Detroit; Dr. lonel Gardescu, fijst pe- 
troleum engineer to have taken a doctor’s degree at the University of 
California, son of a general in the Rumanian Army, student in Paris 
and Pittsburgh, and at present with the Texas Oil Company in 
Houston; Dr. Valer Barbu, of Transylvania, also a graduate from 
Vienna and Paris, who is doing research work at Cornell University; 
Eugene Ravage, author of An American in the Making, who needs 
no introduction to the American public; Judge Leon Rene Yankwich, 
who came as a young boy from lassy iti order to study, graduated 
from Willamette University, took his doctor’s degree in jurisprudence 
from the University of California, is district federal judge in Los 
Angeles, and is considered one of the most brilliant and upright of 
high officials in California; engineer C. D. Barbuiescu, a genius in 
aeronautics and ammunitions, the only foreigner who entered the 
United States Government Aviation Field at Dayton, Ohio; Peter 
Neagoe, whose novels of Rumanian peasant life are widely read in 
America. Dr. Dagobert Runes, a Rumanian with a Ph.D. from 
Vienna, established in New York City one of the most successful 
publishing houses in recent years, the Philosophical Library. Jean 
Negulesco is Warner Brothers’ “Solon” of the short motion features, 

1 This section, adapted from the original edition, was written in its original form 
by Christine Galifzi. 


having directed over fifty of them. Among his productions have 
been such dissimilar efforts as eleven government shorts, two Monte 
Carlo Ballet reels, “Alice in Movieland,” with Joan Leslie, Mary 
Roberts Rinehardt’s “The Dog in the Orchard,” and Damon Runyon’s 
“The Stroke of Twelve,” not to mention an entire series of short 
features starring the nation’s leading swing bands. 

Contrary to the current disregard in which immigrants from the 
southern European countries are held, the above picture permits one 
to conclude that the Rumanian Americans, like the Italians, the 
Greeks, and all the other southern Europeans who came during the 
period of selective immigration, form a rather eugenic ethnic minority 
whose healthy psychological make-up, persevering work, and ability 
to adapt themselves to a new environment constitute a guarantee to 
the real strength and the general well-being of America. 


"'New” Immigration: South European States 

Joseph S. Roucek 

T he ALBANIANS are unique, in several respects, in the differ- 
ences that distinguish them from most of America’s minorities. 
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their story is their growing 
recognition, on their arrival here, that they belonged to a national 
community with a claim to its own rights and dignity in the world. 
As a result, their national consciousness was greatly intensified. In 
turn, these nationalistic activities in America paved the way for their 
active participation in the struggle for Albanian independence. In- 
stead of losing themselves in the ebb and flow processes of Amer- 
icanization, instead of taking part in American political and social 
movements, they became conscious of being Albanians, founded an 
Albanian press, and for the first time formed an autonomous na- 
tional church — ^in America. They brought with them a memory of 
the Balkan struggles for national unity and independence and lived in 
self-imposed poverty when it was necessary, sending their wages 
home, hoarding them against the day of their return, or using them 
to further their national cause. Their activities helped to a con- 
siderable degree in the formation of a free Albania. 

T his concentration of Albanian Americans on the affairs of the 
old country is by no means a singly and peculiar phenomenon — ^the 
influence of the Irish and the Czechoslovaks in America and of the 
overseas Chinese throughout the world in furnishing leadership, mass 
support, and funds for national movements in their own countries is 
well known. That such concentration exists without our knowledge, 
however, is an interesting commentary on our ignorance of the polit- 
ical and cultural activities in our history carried on by almost unknown 
immigrant groups living in our midst — ^litde groups of devoted ad- 



herents to causes connected with names and personalities nearly all 
of which have no meaning to most of us.^ 


It is believed that the first Albanian immigrant from “the Land of 
the Eagle” came to America in 1876.® He was followed by Kol 
(Nicholas) Dristofor, who settled in Massachusetts in 1886, and who 
lived in 1939 as an Albanian Orthodox priest in Southbridge. On 
his trips to his native country, he brought a few friends and relatives 
back with him, and thus the first ten Albanians in America all came 
from the same village, Katundi. Their home visits and their checks 
and letters kindled the imagination of others. After 1 905, commercial 
interests stimulated the desire to emigrate. 

In general, the prewar Albanian immigration was composed of two 
distinct groups: those who decided to leave their native country 
because of economic conditions, and those who took this step for 
political reasons. Because of civil wars and oppression in Albania 
for the decade 1904 to 1914, political refugees predominated. This 
is a very important fact, as it explains why a very considerable number 
of Albanians returned to their native country during the first decade 
after World War I. Later, at least a third of them, disillusioned, 
re-immigrated to the United States, determined this time to make 
America their permanent home. Most of those who remained in the 
old country were Moslems. 

We have no reliable American statistics for the pre-World War I 
period, for the simple reason that nearly all of the Albanians were then 
allowed to enter this country on Turkish passports, and that others 
were classified as Greeks because many of them belonged to the 
Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church. Obviously, the official figures 
of only 9,420 immigrants from Albania is therefore misleading. It is 

1 For the implications of our tendency to disregard the importance of Central- 
Eastern Europe in the formation of world history — and thus also in the development 
of America’s civilization — see Joseph S. Roucek: Misapprehensions about Central- 
Eastern Europe in Anglo-Saxon Historiography (Reprinted from the Quarterly 
Bulletin of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, January, 1944.) See 
also: The Politics of the Balkans, Chapter V, “Albania,” pp. 84-98. New York: 
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1939; “Albania as a Nation,” pp. loy-iopjn Joseph S. Roucek, 
Ed., “A Challenge to Peacemakers,” The Annals of the American Academy of 
Political and Social Science, 232 (March, 1944); “The Social Character of Albanian 
Politics,” Social Science, X (January, 1935), pp. 71-79; “Social Aspects of Albania,” 
World Affairs Interpreter, VII (April, 1936), pp. 70-76. 

2 Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA of Massachusetts, The Albanian Struggle 
in the Old World and New, pp. 5-6. Boston: The Writer, 1939. This is a very 
valuable cooperative study of one of the smallest of America’s minorities. 



in sharp contrast to Mr. Konitza’s estimate of 80,000 prior to World 
War 1 . He believed that there were in America in 1944 some 30,000 
Albanians, approximately 50,000 having returned to their native 
country from 1919 to 1925. 

There are several interesting points about Albanian immigration. 
One is that nearly all immigrants have come from the southern parts 
of AJbania. The northern parts are inhabited by warlike Ghegs, 
while Tosks, who live in the south, are more cultured and have a 
socio-tribal system that is not so clearly defined. Another interesting 
point is that, to a most unusual degree, the Albanians have given up 
their former pursuits as soldiers, sheepherders, livestock keepers, and 
farmers; they are chiefly employed as unskilled workers in factories 
or industrial plants of varied production. Only a few Albanian 
farmers are scattered through Worcester County in Massachusetts. 
Hundreds of Boston Albanians are employed as cooks, countermen, 
and bus boys. Perhaps half of the Albanian population in America 
supports itself as tradespeople of restaurants, lunchrooms, grocery 
stores, barrooms, barber shops, candy stores, shoe-shine parlors, and 
tailoring estabhshments. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

As the first Albanian immigrants settled around Boston, their friends 
followed them, whence they spread to other parts of Massachusetts, 
and then westward, through Pennsylvania, to Chicago and Detroit. 
But many of the Albanian settlements have disappeared, and today 
there are perhaps eighteen thousand American Albanians, including 
their children, scattered through New England. Old Albanian settle- 
ments exist in Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire, and Paw- 
tucket, Rhode Island; Maine’s shoe and textile towns draw upon 
Albanian labor. Small Albanian businessmen have their roots in 
Bridgeport, Hartford, and Waterbury, Connecticut. The remainder 
are located in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, northern 
New York, Minnesota, Utah, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Washington, 
and Cahfomia. 

The enormous discrepancy in the proportion of men and women 
is also of interest. These immigrants came without famihes, often as 
refugees, and even more frequendy with the intention of saving 
enough money to return to the Land of the Eagle and buy a piece 
of land or new tools. This lack of family life is revealed from the 
census figures, which show that there were 444 males to 100 females 
in 1920, and in 1930, 294 males to 100 females. The late Mr. 


Konitza, Albania’s minister to the United States during King Zog’s 
regime, estimated that out of i oo Albanian men only fifteen had wives 
in America; that from the total of some 30,000 American Albanians, 
only 1,000 were women. 

After 1920, however, when the Albanians went to their country 
and returned with wives, or imported them, conditions changed con- 
siderably. Heretofore, American Albanians had tended to carry on 
their social life in the cofFee house, which was their employment 
agency as weU as forum and club. Thereafter, these picturesque 
old-world haunts disappeared one by one. Albanian women who 
arrived made homes for their men. 

In their homes the immigrants try to preserve the memory of the 
homeland. Authentic Albanian decorations are usually scattered 
among standard American pieces; gay blankets of heavy wool are 
likely to be thrown over couches and chairs. The floor, perhaps, 
is covered with a hand-woven Albanian rug. The visitor is served 
llokume — Turkish paste — and the sweet Turkish coffee that Alba- 
nians consume in quantities. The Albanian housewife serves Al- 
banian or Greek bread made from potatoes and whole wheat; she 
cooks her vegetables in oil. When a son or a daughter is married, 
the couple still arranges a gala festival with many of the ceremonial 
niceties observed on such occasions in Albania.® The old people, 
gathering on name days or New Year’s, solemnly repeat the customary 
Albanian formulas of congratulations. They drink raki, and sing 
Albanian folk songs, and usually end the evening with a round of 
satirical storytelling about the shortcomings of the priests of their 
respective towns. 

Naturalization. As may be expected, the number of Albanians 
who have become naturalized is extremely small. An explanation 
of this fact is that the Albanian is before all else proudly an Albanian, 
dominated by an intense nationalistic and ethnic spirit, the result of 
centuries of oppression and struggle as well as of the geographical 
isolation of his homeland. We must remember, too, that the modem 
Albanian is a direct descendant of the ancient pre-Hellenic Illyrian, 
who has persisted for more than four thousand years. Goth, Slav, 
Venetian, Turkish, and finally, Italian invaders beat about the edges 
of his land and oifly partly or never wholly conquered it. 

Literacy. Albanian immigrants show another interesting charac- 
teristic. Although they are not very desirous of becoming naturalized 

^The Albanian Struggle (ibid,), Chapter V, ‘‘Chronicle of Cultural Heritage,” pp. 
113-161, is the best introduction to this aspect of social life of American Albanians. 



and assimilated in America — a process usually connected with the 
decline of illiteracy (which declined among them from over 90 per 
cent in 1906 to less than 15 per cent in 1940) — the movement for 
adult education among the Albanians in the United States was orig- 
inated by their own leaders, independently of American influence. 

The Albanians of the pre-World War I days were fortunate in 
having a few able leaders powerful enough to convince their com- 
patriots that their nationalistic sentiment could be expressed in con- 
structive channels only by learning more about Albanian history, 
language, and culture. The first nationalistic organization. Mother- 
land, was founded at Jamestown, New York, around 1905. But 
the real foundation of the Albanian nationalist movement in the 
United States was laid by the publication of Kombi, first Albanian 
newspaper in America, published on June 1 2, 1906, in Boston, by Sotir 
Petsi. The education of the American Albanians was one of its 
primary purposes. But as is nearly always true of all immigrant 
movements, the movement mirrored the current politics abroad. The 
establishment of an Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church by 
Noli and of the National Church Association in 1908 further 
strengthened the nationalistic movement. But the real spur was 
given to the movement by the arrival of Faik Bey Konitza in the 
United States in 1908. This first Albanian bey to visit his people 
in America was a graduate of the universities of Dijon, Paris, and 
Harvard. His literary abilities and caustic writings made Konitza 
feared by the Turks, the masters of Albania at that time. To Konitza, 
the Albanian nation owes the expurgation of foreign words from the 
Albanian language and its reconstruction. In 1908, Konitza, later 
Albanian minister to the United States, came to America and began 
to put. the smouldering Albanian nationalistic spirit into more con- 
structive channels by founding, a year later, the Pan-Albanian Federa- 
tion of America. This Vcttra (The Hearth) united some fifteen 
Albanian societies and grew into an organization embracing some fifty 
branches by 1921. Its objects were educational as well as nation- 
ahstic; it taught Albanian and English, published inexpensive literature, 
and, above all, fostered the national Albanian traditions. Thanks to 
its efforts, the high degree of illiteracy of the Albanian immigrant 
was reduced to a remarkable degree, not so much as a part of the 
desire to Americanize, but rather as a part of the process which had 
in view the eventual freedom of Albania. By 1944 the organization 
was comparatively inactive, and factionalism had divided it into two 
rival Vatras, with headquarters in Detroit and in Boston. 


Social divisions. With the realization of the independence of Al- 
bania, the American Albanians divided into several factions. In gen- 
eral, the main line was drawn between those who upheld the regime 
of King Zog in Albania and those who opposed it. In fact, the latter 
group was subdivided into some twenty or more factions, but these 
were nominally under the leadership of Fan Noli, a colorful figure in 
politics in Albania, who had been first an actor, then an Eastern 
Orthodox priest, and later became the Bishop of the Albanian Ortho- 
dox Church of Boston. 

In addition to these factions, stained with political coloring, each 
of the larger Albanian settlements in America usually has its death- 
benefit society composed of men from the same community in 
Albania. The societies, therefore, bear such names as Katundi, 
KorchUy and Stratoberdha. They have helped to repair churches and 
streets in the old country, raise the marriage dowry of orphaned and 
destimte girls in Albania, publish national works, and grant scholar- 
ships to students from Korcha attending America’s higher institutions 
of learning. 

The press. The old Vatra published a weekly, the Dielli (Sun), 
in Detroit, while the rival Vatra put out another Dielli in Boston. 
The personal factionalism is also represented by the appearance of 
Bota (The World ) in Boston since 1936, the result of George Prifti’s 
foreclosure of the Vatra property. Bota tries to appeal to the 
younger generation by printing many articles in English. But the 
future of the papers is doubtful, as is illustrated by the fact that the 
Boston Dielli, founded in 1909, and hence “the oldest Albanian news- 
paper in the world,” suspended its publication on December 9, 1939, 
its editor, Nelo Drizari, attributing the suspension to nonpayment of 
annual subscriptions by King 2 k>g and officials of the Albanian regime 
who were deposed in Italy’s conquest of that nation. 

Religion. Albanian immigrants are divided into two chief denomi- 
nations — Orthodox Albanians and Moslems. There are some Catho- 
lic Albanians and some Protestant Albanians, but the first-named 
classifications are by far the largest. The large majority are Eastern 
Orthodox Tosks. The Mohammedans are concentrated for the most 
part in St. Louis, Missouri, and in Peabody and New Bedford, Massa- 
chusetts. Only a few are Roman CathoHcs, and these live mostly in 
Indiana, Chicago, and New York. 

The bulk of Albanian immigrants, however, were of the Greek 
Orthodox faith. In 1908, a convention held in Boston proclaimed 
the religious independence of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox 



Church under Fan Noli, who received his investiture at the hands of 
Platon, the Russian Archbishop of New York. There are altogether 
ten Albanian Orthodox churches in America: three in Boston, two 
in Philadelphia, and one each in Natick, Worcester, and Southbridge, 
Massachusetts, Jamestown, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri. 
These churches, the principal centers of group activity among Al- 
banians, cannot, however, independently support their priests, who 
visit their congregations on circular travels. In some communities, 
the oldest member of the church reads the services to the congre'» 
gation. The church is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church 
and has its headquarters in Boston. It follows the doctrine and ritual 
of the Orthodox Church, the only difference being that it officiates in 
the Albanian language. There are no Albanian Catholic and Moslem 
churches or priests, although the Moslem National Alliance supported 
a regular school at Waterbury, Connecticut, before World War I. 
Many Albanian Moslems are members of the Unitarian churches. 
Whatever the religion of the Albanian, he is never strictly orthodox. 
Tribal and communal loyalty, the codes of ancient customs, and 
national pride are far more important to the Albanian than is religion. 

As is usually the case with other immigrant groups, the second 
generation is a real problem to the Albanians. These younger people 
dislike or are indifferent to Albanian journals and particularly to the 
factional struggles over leadership in Albania’s cause. American 
newspapers may seem alien to their parents, but the young people like 
them, for many of them are tired of old bitterness and futile hatreds. 
Both generations are outraged by prevailing conditions in the old 
country under Zog’s domination and especially by the Italian in- 
fluence. The youngsters resent that “Americans don’t even know 
where Albania is.” They have little money and can boast of no 
Albanian politicians, no mayors, no real “big shots.” As school chil- 
dren in America, they almost forget their Albanian ancestry, and 
sometimes they tend to become vociferously “American.” As a rule, 
however, they respect the intense feeling of their parents against inter- 
marriage with other nationalities; therefore, arranged marriages stiU 
prevail. Parents of the Greek Orthodox faith often follow the old- 
world custom of giving a dowry to their daughters. But even these 
young Albanians can hardly understand their parents when they speak 

Albanians cmd World Wars I and 11 . Prior to 1912, few of the 
American Albanians knew the word Albania. In their homeland 
their people called themselves Shqipetare — “Sons of the Eagle” — and 


their country Shqiperia — “the Land of the Eagle.” But they became 
increasingly aware that they belonged to a nationality — the result 
of their contacts with their surroundings in America. This awareness 
prepared the ground for the ardent crusaders for Albanian nationalism 
who came to the factory hands in 1905 from Albanian patriotic head- 
quarters in Rumania, Greece, and Egypt. As immigration to America 
increased, the leaders of the Albanian nationalistic movement began 
to devote themselves to converting their people to the cause. The 
newspaper played an important role in forging a common national 
spirit; the konak served as the schoolhouse. (Ten or fifteen men 
often lived together in a single flat, the konak, where they did their 
own cooking, washing, and mending.) The mass-education move- 
ment furthered the nationalistic cause. Fan Noli used his pulpit in 
the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, organized in 1908, 
as a tribune for nationalistic preaching. The arrival of Faik Konitza 
added another able and fiery proponent to the nationalistic movement 
and resulted in the formation of Vatra in April, 1912. Thereafter, 
aggressive international propaganda was carried on on behalf of inde- 
pendent Albania; cables were sent to Valona and to Albanian colonies 
in Rumania and Egypt, and the dignitaries of the London Conference 
(1912) were deluged with Vatra’s cables and memoranda. 

During World War I, Vatra at first supported Germany, since 
the Prince of Wied represented for it at least the symbol of freedom 
and independence. With the entrance of the United States into the 
war, Vatra made a hasty about-face and became a militant advocate 
of the Allied cause; its members subscribed to the war loans, and the 
Reverend Fan Noli made the circuit of military camps in Massa- 
chusetts defivering fiery speeches to the doughboys. 

Vatra sent Mehmet Konitza, with several others, to the Peace Con- 
ference as its chief delegate. It appealed to its members for a national 
fund to help fight the cause at Versailles. In all, $150,000 was 
raised; part went to Vatra’s representatives in Paris; the rest was used 
for various purposes, including the issuing of an English monthly, 
the Adriatic Review. Numerous booklets also were issued. In 1919 
the Albanian nationalists made a suggestion — ^said to have been in- 
spired by Mehmet Konitza — ^that America should be given a mandate 
in Albania under the League of Nations. But the Versailles Confer- 
ence intended to dismember Albania — and only Wilson’s stubborn 
refusal saved the independence of the country. 

Thereafter, Vatra and its leaders frequently interfered m the in- 
ternal policies of Albania. Scores of American Albanians returned to 



their country and became government officials, deputies, prefects, 
subprefects, police commissioners, army officers, schoolteachers, and 
priests. But most of them soon learned that “American” and “Alba- 
nian” ways do not mix well, and eventually they returned to America. 

The Munich Pact of 1938 reawakened the interest of American 
Albanians in the fate of their country. Even the opponents of the 
Zog regime had held a strong irredendist sentiment for the “lost 
provinces” of Kossovo and Chameria. Petitions were dispatched to 
Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, and Daladier complaining that “the 
overwhelming majority of its (Chameria’s) inhabitants — our friends 
and relatives living in Chameria — are unwilling subjects to another 
nation,” and the statesmen were implored to “consider” these in- 
justices. Receipt of the petition was acknowledged only by Italy, 
which sent a noncommittal reply through the Italian ambassador in 

When Albania was invaded under the pretext that the country 
was in a state of internal chaos on April 7, 1939, once again Albanians, 
who had devoted their energies and their substance to the ideal of a 
free Albania, saw their aspirations crushed by a foreign invader. On 
Easter Sunday, 1939, Albanian communities throughout America 
were again seething with plans for the reconquest of Albanian inde- 
pendence. Count Curti de Mortale, consul-general of Albania in 
New York, after receiving “innumerable telegrams asking that a 
protest be made on behalf of 50,000 Albanian colony members in 
the United States,” sent messages asking intervention to Pope Pius XII, 
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Premier Edouard Daladier, in- 
cluding a telegram to President Roosevelt signed by Mrs. Areti Viso, 
president of various Albanian groups, among them, the Albanian 
American League.* 

Contributions to American Life 

There are only a few really outstanding Albanians in America. The 
most successful and the best-known Albanian was Faik Bey Konitza, 
the Albanian minister to the United States, an accomplished philologist 
and historical scholar, whose unobtrusive but scholarly qualities have 
done much to promote the good reputation of Albanian Americans 
and of his country. Professor La Piana of Harvard, who is a specialist 
in early church history, traces his roots to an Albanian family that 
settled in Italy. Mr. George Prifti, the Albanian consul in Boston, is 

^ The New York Times, April 9, 1939. 


a graduate of Boston University, a member of the Massachusetts and 
federal bar, and oiEciaUy represented his country in Boston. Stephen 
Panis is a nationally known silversmith. Miss Nexhmie Zaimi’s 
Daughter of the Eagle (New York; Ives Washburn, 1937), is an 
immigrant’s story of the customs of the Albanian people. Thomas 
Nassi, conductor of the Cape Cod Philharmonic Society,* has pub- 
lished the scores of many Albanian songs. 



The story of the Greeks in the United States is a comparatively 
recent one. Mass emigration from Greece to this country started 
only during the last decade of the nineteenth century, to reach its apex 
during the first quarter of the twentieth and mark a sizable decline 
immediately after the restrictive legislation of 1924 had been put in 

Yet, if the theory advocated by the late Seraphim G. Canoutas ^ 
proves to be true, no lesser a figure in the history of America than 
Christopher Columbus himself was a Greek. Incontrovertible evi- 
dence does exist, however, that only thirty-six years after the discovery 
of America a Greek stepped upon the soil of this continent. Panfilo 
de Narvaez, in his chronicle of the expedition of Alvar Nunez Cabeza 
de Vaca, tells us that a Greek — “griego ’’ — ^by the name of Theodore 
(Don Teodoro) was a member of that expedition which reached the 
coasts of western Florida, somewhere near the present-day Tampa, 
in 1528. The Greek Theodore is specifically mentioned as having 
“extracted resin from the pine,” with which he caulked the seams of 
the boats. When the expedition left for South America,Theodore 
stayed behind, and De Soto’s men found his traces, in 1 540, somewhere 
in the neighborhood of Pensacola Bay.^ 

In 1592, a native of the island of Cephalonia, the Greek John 
Phocas, who is better known under the Spanish name of Juan de 
Fuca, discovered the strait that separates the American continent from 
Vancouver’s Island, called then the fabulous Anian, and now bearing 
his own name. Strait Juan de Fuca.® It is noteworthy that the Seattle 

1 Seraphim G. Canoutas, Christopher Columbus, A Greek Nobleman. New York: 
St. Mark’s Press, 1943. 

2 Greek-Americam of Florida. Information Collected by the Florida Writers’ 
Project, Works Projects Administration. Published in Athene Magazine, Chicago, 
111 ., June, 1942; also Seraphim G, Canoutas, Hellenism in America (text in Greek). 
New York: St. Mark’s Press, 1918. 

2 Seraphim G. Canoutas, Christopher Columbus, A Greek Noblentan, p. 188. 


Chapter of the Order of Ahepa — ^largest fraternal organization of 
Americans of Greek descent in this country — ^is named after this 
intrepid Cephalonian navigator. A number of other Greek seamen 
participated in various expeditions to this continent. Many of them 
had changed their names, however, into Spanish or English forms, 
thus making it practically impossible to trace their Greek origin. 

The first settlement of Greeks in the United States dates from 1 768, 
when a Scottish physician, Dr. Andrew Turnbull, founded the “Greek 
Colony” of New Smyrna, Florida. Married to a Greek girl from 
Smyrna, Gracia Dura Bin, and having lived in Greece, Dr. Turnbull 
felt that Florida, with its climate similar to that of Greece, would 
be an ideal haven for Greek settlers. His original plan called for an 
exclusively Greek settlement of about five hundred farmers, but as 
he had difficulty in recruiting more than two hundred of that na- 
tionality, he looked for additional men in Livorno, Italy, and in 
Minorca of the Balearic Islands. The total number of settlers 
amounted to fifteen hundred, but the colony was a short-lived one. 
Ten years after its foundation, most of the settlers had been decimated 
by malaria, or killed during the almost continuous clashes with the 
Indians. Those who survived the rigors of the climate and the 
guerrilla warfare moved to near-by St. Augustine, Florida.* 

The memory of at least one of those early Greek settlers is still 
alive in St. Augustine, “the oldest city of the United States.” The 
Greek, John Giannopoli, is remembered not because he was an out- 
standing farmer or soldier, but because of his respect for learning. 
Giannopoli built a schoolhouse where he taught the “three R’s” to 
the children of St. Augustine. The schoolhouse, now a property 
of the municipality of St. Augustine, constitutes one of the landmarks 
of that historic city. The writer has had the opportunity of going 
through early Spanish records kept in the Webb Memorial Library of 
St. Augustine, which provide ample proof of the Hellenic origin of 
Giannopoli and of a few other Greek settlers, whose descendants are 
said to have been dispersed in various southern states. 

At the time of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829), 
American missionaries and other philhellenes, who hastened to give 
their support to the Greek cause of freedom, brought over a number 
of young boys from Greece, chiefly from Chios, an island of the 
Aegean renowned for its brilliant scholars and its shrewd traders. 
The boys were educated at AmheKt, Andover, and other similar insti- 

* “Greek-Americans of Florida,” Athene Magazine, Chicago, HI., June, 1942. 


tutions. Some of them returned to Greece, there to occupy promi- 
nent positions in the fields of letters and commerce. Others stayed 
in the United States. Four of these Greek refugees are known to 
have served in the United States Navy: George Syrianis, who was 
a gunner; George Marshall, who was also author of the first manual of 
marine gunnery under the title Practical Marine Gunnery; Fotios 
Fish, who was a chaplain of the United States Navy and an ardent 
opponent of the slave trade; and George Mussalas Colvocoressis, who 
took part in many important expeditions all over the world, and who 
wrote the chronicle of the Wilkes expedition to the island of Madeira, 
Cape Verde, Brazil, Australia, the Northwest coast of America, the 
East Indies, and other places.® His son, Rear Admiral George Par- 
tridge Colvocoressis, participated in the naval engagements fought by 
Admiral Dewey in the Philippines and served as executive ofiicer on 
the admiral’s flagship.® The Colvocoressis family, as well as the Ralli 
and Galati famflies, have taken deep root in this country and their 
descendants today occupy prominent positions in American so- 

In 1867, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, the philhellene who had ren- 
dered priceless services to the Hellenic cause during the Revolution 
of 1821, brought over from Greece Michael Anagnostopoulos, better 
known as Michael Anagnos, a native of Epirus, who became interested 
in the great work Dr. Howe was doing as head of the Perkins Insti- 
tute for the Blind in Boston. Anagnos became Dr. Howe’s assistant, 
later his son-in-law, and upon Dr. Howe’s death, in 1886, he was 
chosen to succeed him as director of the institute, which position he 
held with distinction until his death in 1906. Ex-Governor Guild of 
Massachusetts said of him: “The name of Michael Anagnos belongs to 
Greece; the fame of him belongs to the United States, but his service 
belongs to humanity!” Anagnos epitomized the best qualities of the 
Greek. His name is revered by every Greek immigrant. Honoring 
his memory, Michael Loris, a Greek on whom fell the honor during 
World War II of being the nation’s champion salesman of “E” 
War Bonds — ^having sold personally over $5,500,000 worth till 
the end of July, 1944 — christened with the name of S.S. Michael 
Anagnos a Liberty ship launched on September 7, 1944, at the 
New England Shipbuilding Company’s Yards at South Portland, 

5 George Mussalas Colvocoressis, Four Years in a Government Exploring Expedi- 
tion^ New York, 1852; also Hellenism in America^ by Seraphim G. Canoutas. 

6 Seraphim G. Canoutas, Hellenism in America, 



The acme of Greek mmngratioTi. With the exception of a small 
number of merchants and professional men who came to the United 
States during the latter part of the nineteenth century, immigration 
from Greece continued to be very limited until the last decade of 
that century. The following figures, taken from the sixteenth census 
of the United States (1940), are indicative of the growth of Greek 
immigration at the turn of the century: 1890, 1,887; 1900, 8,515; 
1910, 101,264; (peak census year), 175,972; 1930, 174,526; 1940, 

In a study published in Athens by Basileios Balaoras, a graduate of 
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, it is stated that over 
460,000 Greeks, or, about one tenth of the total population of Greece 
at that time, emigrated to America from 1901 to 1930. The peak 
year was 1907, with 36,580 immigrants from Greece. The second 
largest year was 1914, after the Balkan Wars, when 35,832 persons 
came from Greece to the United States, and the third largest year 
was 1922, when, after the Asia Minor catastrophe, 28,502 Greeks left 
for the United States. Total emigration to the United States from 
1 820 to 1934 was 488,824. During the same period, Greek emigration 
to all other countries of the world amounted to only 40,814 persons. 
From 1935 to 1943, a total of 5,460 immigrants arrived from Greece. 

As in the case of many minority groups, so with the Greeks; equally 
reliable data show wide variations in the number of immigrants. 
In Table XII (page 647), there is a discrepancy of 40,000 within a 
single decade between the number given by Balaoras and that given 
by Marketos.® This discrepancy may be attributed to the fact that 
while Dr. Balaoras’s table shows departures from Greece to the United 
States, which may include GreelK from various parts of the “un- 
redeemed” Hellenic world, the immigration figures given by Mr. 
Babis Marketos apply merely to arrivals of persons born in the 
Greek state proper. Mr. Marketos points out that “the reader should 
add to his figures, which are official, also those persons of Greek 
descent who are not Greek subjects, that is to say Greeks from 
European Turkey, Asia Minor, Cyprus, the Dodecanese Islands, and 
Egypt, who, naturally, are not included in the official list of immi- 
grants from Greece,” being classified under the particular country 
of which they happened to be subjects at the time of their arrival in 
the United States. 

7 Basiieios G, Balaoras, The Hellenism of the United States^ with an English sum- 
mary. Text in Greek, Athens, 1937. 

® Babis Marketos, Greece at the Crossroads. Text in Greek- New York, 1942. 


In a survey by Christ Loukas on the “Status of Greek Population 
in the United States,” published in Volume One, Number One of 
The Hellenic Spectator,^ we find that of the foreign-bom Greek 
population in the United States in 1920, 6,382 gave a country other 
than Greece as “country of origin”; in 1930, those from Greece 
showed an increase of only 1,370, while the number of Greeks from 
countries other than Greece increased to 19,420. The largest group, 
1 1,499, were from Asiatic Turkey. (See Table XIII, page 647.) 

Mr. Loukas quotes as his authority the United States census for 
1930. There are, however, estimates of a more or less reliable char- 
acter that claim as many as two fifths of the foreign-born Greeks in 
the United States as coming from territories other than those of 
Greece proper. This ratio is substantiated by Professor William I. 
Cole, who made a study of the Greeks in the state of Massachusetts.^" 
He admitted, however, that the “exact size of the Greek population 
is more or less conjectural.” 

Despite the gradual extinction of the early immigrants, people of 
Greek stock increase continuously in numbers, because of the rela- 
tively large number of persons in each Greek family. The average 
family has three children. It would be safe, therefore, to multiply 
by four, or even by five, the figure of 163,252, shown as the total of 
Greek-born immigrants in this country in 1940, in order to arrive 
at a fair estimate of the people of Greek descent in the United States. 
The Greek Archdiocese of North and South America places the 
number of Greeks — ^both born abroad and their offspring — in the 
neighborhood of 750,000, including, of course, members of the second 
and third generations. 

The figure for Greek immigrants classified as coming from “Italy” 
corresponds, to a large extent, to persons from the Dodecanese Islands. 
These people, 100 per cent Greek in sentiment, did not like to be 
classed as “Italians,” and as a result of a memorandum submitted to 
the United States Department of Justice by the National Committee 
for the Restoration of Greece, the Dodecanesians were specifically 
excluded from the alien enemy classification on February 23, 1942, 
when Italy was still at war with the United States and Italian citizens 
were considered enemy aliens.^^ 

® The Hellenic Spectator, monthly magazine in English, published in Washington, 
D. C. during 1940 and 1941 by Constantine Poulos. 

10 William 1 . Cole, Immigrant Races in Massachusetts — The Greeks. Written for 
the Massachusetts Bureau of Immigration. No date. 

The Dodecanesians Are Not Enemy Aliens, published by the Dodecanesian 
League of America, New York, 1942. 



Greek immigration to this country was mainly due to economic 
reasons. The bulk of early Greek immigrants came from the 
Peloponnesos, and, chiefly, from the rocky and mountainous regions 
of Arcadia and Laconia. The districts of Tripolis and Sparta pro- 
vided the largest number of early Greek immigrants, who sought jobs 
mostly in urban centers of the Eastern and Middle Western states. 
As for the Greeks from the unredeemed territories of the Hellenic 
world, many of them came to avoid compulsory service in the Turkish 
Army, or to escape the persecution of their Bulgarian or other rulers. 

In view of the uncertain future that awaited the Greek immi- 
grants, most of whom came to this country spurred by the motive 
of bettering their economic position, and hoping that after amassing 
a certain amount of money they would be able to return to their 
native land to establish themselves there in business or agriculture, for 
many years Greek immigration was overwhelmingly an immigration 
of males. 

A table in Dr. Balaoras’s aforementioned study shows that from 
1896 to 1900 only four women arrived for every too men coming 
to the United States from Greece. Five women for every too men 
was the proportion for the decade 1901 -19 10, and sixteen women 
for every too men was that for 1911-1920. The figure jumped to 
sixty-seven women for every too men for the period from 1921 to 
1924. This increase means that the Greek immigrants had by that 
time taken root here and, with the improvement of their financial 
condition, that they had brought brides from the motherland. Dr. 
Balaoras, on the other hand, points out that although in 1900 there 
were eleven Greek-born women for every too Greek-bom men in 
the United States, the proportion increased to twenty-three women 
per 100 men in 1920, and to thirty-five women per too men in 1930, 
while the percentage in the arrivals from Greece during 1930 was 
sixty-one women to every 100 men coming into the United States. 
The United States 1940 census shows that of a total of 163,252 Greek- 
born persons in the United States in 1940, 117,324 were male and 
45,928 female. In 1930, out of a total of 174,526 Greek-bom persons 
in the United States (official figures of the 1930 census), 129,101 were 
male and 45,425 female. Generally, the Greeks prefer to marry 
among Greek families, but with the growing assimilation of the Greek 
element, mixed marriages are on the increase. 

Geographical distribution and occupations. The Greeks, being of 
a restless and venturesome character, prefer to engage in commerce 
and shipping rather than in rural occupations. It is true that in the 


early stages of Greek immigration, when most of the Greeks arrived 
without any capital and with practically no knowledge of the English 
language, many thousands of them were employed in railroad con- 
struction, in digging sewers, as farm laborers, and as mill and factory 
hands, the latter employed chiefly in Massachusetts and New Hamp- 
shire. But Professor Ross, quoted by William E. Cole,^- states: 

There is a strong tendency among the Greeks to take certain lines of 
business such as candy kitchens and confectionery stores, ice-cream 
parlors, fruit carts, stands, and stores, florist shops, and boot-blacking 
establishments. This is due to the fact that this catering to the minor 
wants of the public admits of being started on the curb with little capital 
and no experience. Once his foot on the first rung, the saving and com- 
mercial-minded Greek climbs. From curb to stand, from stand to store, 
from little store to big store, to the chain of stores to branch store in 
other cities, such are the stages in his upward path. 

To the professions enumerated by Professor Ross, one must add the 
restaurant business — ^in which the Greeks have played and still are 
playing quite an important role throughout the United States — ^the 
fur industry, and the motion-picture industry. Numerous Greeks 
own and operate chains of' motion-picture houses throughout the 
country, and the names of the Skouras Brothers and of Pantages are 
of nation-wide reputation. The Greeks have distinguished them- 
selves also in the tobacco industry, with the firm of Stephano Brothers 
in Philadelphia, founded by Constantine Stephano, a native of Epirus, 
Greece (died in 1944), being the financially strongest Greek-Amer- 
ican concern in 1944. 

The United States census for 1940 provides unmistakable evidence 
of the preference of the Greeks for urban centers. Thus, of the 
total of 163,252 Greek-bom persons in the United States shown by 
that census, 106,102 males and 43,301 females were to be found in 
urban centers, as compared with 116,524 males and 42,582 females 
for 1930. Nonfarm rural Greek-bom males in 1940 are shown by 
the same census as 8,730 males and 2,068 females, the figures for 1930 
being 10,625 and 2,067 respectively. The rural-farm Greek-born 
population for 1940 was 2,432 males and 559 females, as compared 
with 1,952 males and 506 females for 1930. 

The geographical distribution of the Greek-bom population of 
163,252, shown by the United States Official Census of 1940, is shown 
in Table XI (page 646), according to regions. The three Middle 
Atlantic states lead with 50,598; the smallest number, 2,042, live in 

William E. Cole, op. ctt. 



the four East South Central states. Greeks are living in every state in 
the Union, the number varying from 188 in Vermont to 34,800 
in New York. In five states there are more than ro,ooo: Ilhnois, 
18,428; Massachusetts, 15,208; California, 12,421; Pennsylvania, 10,- 
510; and Ohio, 10,058. Thirteen states have less than 500 Greeks: 
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, 
Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and 
Vermont — aU states of sparse population and little urbanization. 

It should be emphasized, however, that these figures cover only 
persons bom in Greece proper y which means that approximately only 
three fifths of the immigrants of Greek nationality are included, the 
other two fifths having come, as already mentioned, from the “unre- 
deemed” territories of the Hellenic world. 

The cities with the largest Greek population are New York, Chi- 
cago, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, 
Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. Al- 
though the Greek communities in the above-mentioned cities are quite 
sizable — the total number of people of Greek stock in New York 
and Chicago is well over the 50,000 mark — the Greek element neces- 
sarily constitutes only a small fraction of their total population. This 
is not the case, however, with such localities as Tarpon Springs, 
Florida, or Lowell, Massachusetts, where the Greeks play a prepon- 
derant role in the life of the community. 

In Tarpon Springs, the Greeks, mostly from the Dodecanese 
Islands, are well over one half of the total population. Such is their 
devotion to Greece — ^although technically the Dodecanesians came 
under the Italian quota — ^that a resolution of the Board of Commis- 
sioners of Tarpon Springs, dated January 2, 1944, petitioned for the 
liberation of the Dodecanese Islands and for their union with Greece 
after the war.^® 

Apart from being the city with proportionately the largest Greek 
population in the United States, Tarpon Springs has the distinction 
of being also the most important sponge center in the world. Forty 
years ago John Cheyney, a Philadelphia investor, became interested 
in deep-sea diving and brought from Madison Street, New York — 
then a Greek neighborhood — a number of Greek divers and expert 
sponge fishers. Up to that time, sponges had been fished by means 
of hooks; but the best sponges are to be found in deep waters not 

13 For the text of this resolution, see The Greek Dodecanese^ A Symposium by 
Prominent Americans, New York, 1944* Published by The Dodecanesian National 


accessible to the hooks. The pioneer, John Cocoris, a native of the 
island of Aegina, and other famous Greek divers of the time, intro- 
duced the methods of diving and sponge fishing prevalent in the 
Mediterranean. Within a few years the sleepy resort of Tarpon 
Springs was converted into a world-famed sponge market, with mil- 
lions of dollars’ worth of sponges being sold every year in its Sponge 
Exchange, which is now almost exclusively owned by the Greeks.^* 

Tarpon Springs is also celebrated for the annual ceremony of the 
blessing of waters on Epiphany Day, January 6, when the Greek 
Orthodox Archbishop blesses the spongers’ boats prior to their de- 
parture for the Gulf of Mexico. The names of these boats — America, 
or Hellas, Roosevelt or Venizelos, Bozzaris or Washington — are in- 
dicative of their owners’ devotion to their adopted country, the 
United States, and to Greece. The main boulevard of Tarpon 
Springs is now called Dodecanese Boulevard.^® 

The Greek community of Lowell, Massachusetts, has been a 
thriving one for a number of years. Professor William I. Cole esti- 
mated a few years ago that it numbered about 12,000 souls. Besides 
being the largest aggregation of Greeks in the state of Massachusetts, 
it has always ranked among the foremost Greek communities in the 
entire United States. Manchester, New Hampshire, has also been 
a leading Greek community in New England, but, like other Greek 
centers, it is gradually losing its original Hellenic character, now that 
members of the older generation are dying in ever-increasing numbers 
and no new blood is coming from Greece to take their place. 

Greek church and organizations. The vast majority of the Greeks 
are of the Eastern Orthodox faith, with very few Protestants and a 
sprinkling of Jews, the latter mostly from Epirus. If the number of 
Greek Orthodox churches is an index of the strength of the Greek 
communities in the United States, it may be said that the Greeks are 
doing quite well in this country. Every year new Greek Orthodox 
churches and schools are added to those already existing. In 1944, 
approximately 250 Greek Orthodox churches came under the fold 
of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the jurisdiction of whose head, 
the Most Reverend Archbishop Athenagoras, extends over the entire 
continent of America — ^North and South. 

Although spiritually owing allegiance to the Oecumenical Patri- 
archate of Constantinople, and not to the Autocephalous Church of 

Louis Adamic, From Many Lands, “The Greeks Came to Tarpon Springs.” 
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1939. 

The Greek Dodecanese, A Symposium by Prominent Americans. 



Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church of America is subject to the 
laws of this country, each community being a corporation registered 
under the laws of the respective state in which it functions. 

It is mainly through the Greek Orthodox Church and its afternoon 
or Sunday schools that Greek tradition and Greek language are pre- 
served in this country. With the growth of a second generation 
of American-bom sons and daughters of Greek-bom parents, priests 
are now recruited from the Greek-American communities to prepare 
for the priesthood at the Archdiocese’s Theological School of the 
Holy Cross at Pomfret Center, Connecticut. 

Parallel to the Greek Orthodox churches, around which are cen- 
tered most of the religious, educational, and philanthropic activities 
of the Greek-American communities, there exist numerous mutual-aid 
and other societies which bring the Greeks together. Some of these 
organizations have a national scope with chapters throughout the 
United States, even in localities where there is no Greek church. 
The leading society of this type is the Order of Ahepa (Aonerican 
Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), founded in Atlanta, 
Georgia, in 1922, and numbering now over three hundred chapters. 
Its national headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Ahepa seeks to 
bridge the gap between Americans and Greeks and helps the latter to 
absorb the American way of life through naturalization and emphasis 
on the ideals of American democracy. Membership is open to Amer- 
icans of non-Greek descent also, and many prominent Americans, 
including President Roosevelt, are members of the order. Two major 
war-bond drives were launched by Ahepa during the early years of 
World War II, one for $50,000,000, and another for 1 100,000,000; 
both of them were fully covered. 

While Ahepa lays particular emphasis on Americanization and the 
American way of life, another society of a national scope, the GAPA 
(Greek American Progressive Association), founded in Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania, in 1923, although also believing in American ideals, aims 
at the perpetuation of the Greek tradition, by cultivating Greek 
letters and the Greek Orthodox religion. Membership to GAPA is 
limited only to Greeks, and the Greek language is exclusively used 
during the meetings. Both of these societies provide scholarships to 
youths following higher studies in American educational institutions 
and support financially every worth-^while cause relating to the Greeks 
in this country. An annual excursion to Greece constitutes one of 
the main activities of both societies, each of which publishes its own 
periodical, The Ahepan in English, and the Gapa Tribune in Greek. 


The tendency toward regionalism, which has been a characteristic 
of the Greeks since ancient times, is finding its expression in the 
numerous societies founded by Greeks from one particular province, 
island, or town of Greece. Thus, the Arcadians are organized into 
the Pan-Arcadian Society, the Cretans have the Pan-Cretan Asso- 
ciation, those from Asia Minor the Pan-Micrasiatic, the ones from the 
Dodecanese, the Dodecanesian National Council, and the Epirotans, 
the Pan-Epirotic Federation of America — to mention the most im- 
portant central organizations. Chapters or branches of these societies 
are to be found in those cities or towns of the United States where 
there are comparatively large numbers of natives from particular 
regions or provinces of Greece. 

Thus, wMe most of the Spartans and Arcadians are to be found 
in the Eastern and Middle Western states, a sizable number of Cretans 
live in the state of Utah, and most of the Dodecanesians are in New 
York City, Tarpon Springs, Florida, and various towns of the states 
of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Epirotans are centered in 
Worcester, Massachusetts, and other localities of New England, with 
a goodly number of them also to be found in Chicago. 

The purpose of these societies, besides providing aid to their mem- 
bers in case of need, is to keep interest alive in their particular place 
of origin by remitting funds for the erection of schools, churches, or 
public works of which the town or province may be in need. With 
the destruction of a large number of towns and villages in Greece by 
the Axis invaders, the need for reconstruction became urgent, and 
most of the societies embarked on programs of rehef and rehabilitation 
of the particular regions from which their members had come. 

One of the main activities of the societies whose members came 
from the unredeemed parts of the Hellenic world, such as the Dodec- 
anese Islands and Northern Epirus, was to work for the liberation of 
these regions and their union with Greece. Thus, the Dodecanesian 
National Council and the Pan-Epirotic Federation of America, 
through publications, press releases, and other similar means, sought to 
enlighten American public opinion with regard to the Hellenic char- 
acter of those territories. 

Similar aims are being pursued by the American Friends of Greece, 
an organization comprising a large number of American scholars and 
other philhellenes. In one of its most recent publications, Greece of 
Tomorrow, Greek national claims are outlined, the contributors being 
American professors with a long experience in Greek affairs. Also, 



the National Committee for the Restoration of Greece, whose mem- 
bership is Greek or Greek American, is engaging in activities of a 
parallel nature, publishing pamphlets on Greece and her contribution 
to the common war effort and issuing a news bulletin which is sent 
to the press throughout the country. 

Occupational organizations of Greeks are not numerous. The 
most important are the societies of Greek Florists, Furriers, and 
Restaurateurs, whose aim is to further the business interests of their 
members. Greek labor is organized into various Union locals 
affiliated with the A.F, of L. or the C.I.O. Their members work 
mainly in restaurants and hotels or in the fur industry. The Hellenic- 
American Fraternal Society, the Greek Branch of the International 
Workers Order, comprises thirty lodges, with a membership of ap- 
proximately two thousand. Its aims are “the promotion of fraternal- 
ism and solidarity; the tightening of the historical bonds between 
Greece and the United States; collaboration with other organizations 
for the development of Greek culture in the United States.” A 
Greek-American Labor Committee is also functioning in New York, 
with branches in other cities. This is a political organization, seeking 
to support the cause of democracy in Greece and liberal ideas in the 
United States. Various Union locals throughout the United States 
endorse the activities of this committee. 

The Greek War Relief Association, Inc., established in December, 
1940, did much to provide succor to the stricken Greek people, both 
at the time of the war against the Axis powers and during the enemy 
occupation of Greece. Over ten million dollars was collected by 
its numerous chapters from coast to coast, prior to its coming under 
the fold of the National War Fund. 

The Greek press. From Aristotle’s time, the Greeks have been 
politically minded, perhaps the most politically minded people in the 
world. It was, therefore, only natural that their interest in public 
affairs and particularly those of their motherland should be maintained 
constantly alive. Greek-language newspapers made their appearance 
in the United States over fifty years ago, and, alongside news from 
Greece, they provided a picture of life in the various Greek com- 
munities that were graduaUy developing in this country. The polit- 
ical differences that divided the Greek people in Greece found their 
echo in the editorials and news dispatches of the Greek-American 
press. Only a limited number of publications managed to stand aloof 
while the majority of the papers vigorously fought in favor of or 


against the monarchy. Similarly, in 1944, some papers supported the 
EAM resistance movement in Greece while others vociferously op- 
posed it. 

The oldest Greek newspaper in existence is the daily Atlantis ^ which 
in 1944 completed fifty years of fife. Its views are conservative, and 
it is mostly read by Greek immigrants from the Peloponnesos and 
other parts of the mainland of Greece where the monarchy had most 
of its supporters. Although it claims to be an “American” paper, 
writing for American citizens of Greek descent, it takes sides in every 
controversy relating to Greek politics. In American politics Atlantis 
has been consistently Republican. 

Liberal views on both Greek politics and American affairs have been 
supported by the National Herald, a daily founded in 1915. Liberal 
and antimonarchic views were finding their most vociferous expression 
in the columns of this paper at the time the conflict between Venizelos 
and King Constantine was at its height in the 1910’s. Again, during 
World War II, it became the mouthpiece of Greek liberalism with 
its support of the EAM resistance movement and its opposition to 
the re-establishment of the monarchy in Greece. 

The labor point of view is expressed by the Greek-American 
Tribune, which is the successor of such papers as the Eleftheria and 
Empros. This weekly is the mouthpiece of organized Greek-Amer- 
ican labor centered around the Greek Maritime Unions, the Fur 
Workers Unions, and the Greek Branch of International Workers 
Order. Four of its twenty pages are printed in English, and great 
emphasis is laid on the support of democratic ideals. These three 
papers exert real influence on their readers, reflecting as they do three 
different points of view. 

Numerous other publications appear in Greek, but their importance 
is secondary. The following papers are the best known: California 
of San Francisco (royalist in Greek politics) , a weekly; the Chicago 
Greek Press, a weekly of moderate views, interested mostly in the 
defense of Greek rights; the Chicago Greek Star, a weekly which 
has consistently supported Metaxas’ dictatorship; the Detroit Athens, 
a weekly of conservative leanings; the LoweU Greek-American, a 
weekly of conservative views; the Free Press, a weekly appearing in 
New York, also exclusively dealing with Greek politics, opposed to 
the monarchy but vigorously anticommunist; the Ameriki, a “labour” 
weekly of recent vintage, reflecting views such as the ones advocated 
by the socialist Neax) Leader, whose articles it often reprints; The 
Ahepan, the bi-monthly organ of the Order of Ahepa, printed entirely 
jn English, and not taking sides, although enthusiastically supporting 



American democratic ideals; and the Chicago Athene, “the American 
Magazine of Hellenic Thought,” also entirely in English, beautifully 
illustrated and with articles relating to Greek culture and thought, 
most of which are contributed by distinguished American scholars. 

Contnhiitiom to American Life 

Although the vast majority of the Greek immigrants came to the 
United States with little else but their desire to work and improve 
their social and economic condition, the Greeks, in the relatively short 
period of their life here, have proved to be a valuable asset in their 
respective communities. Hard-working and thrifty, they set as their 
primary aim to give a higher education to their sons and daughters; 
and this fact explains the large number of youths of Greek descent 
following studies in American educational institutions. On the other 
hand, numerous Greek scholars are teaching in American universities 
and colleges, the best known of them being Dr. Papanicolaou of the 
Medical School of Cornell University; Dr. Raphael Demos, professor 
of philosophy at Harvard University; Professors Emile Malakis and 
Panos Morphopoulos of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 
Maryland; Professor Michael Dorizas of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania; and Professor Michael Choukas of Dartmouth College, Han- 
over, New Hampshire. 

In the realm of music, the name of Dimitri Mitropoulos, the world- 
renowned orchestra conductor, is now ranking alongside the names 
of Koussevitzky, Toscanini, and Stokowski. For a number of years 
head of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Mitropoulos has been 
also a guest conductor of practically every important symphony 
orchestra of this country, including the Boston, New York, and 
Philadelphia orchestras, and during the eight years of his activities 
in the United States he has done much to further American music 
by presenting for the first time to American audiences the composi- 
tions of leading American composers. 

Nicholas Moscona, the Greek basso, has been singing for a number 
of years at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York and in other 
leading musical centers of this country, includmg Cincinnati, San 
Francisco, and Philadelphia. Lorenzo Camilieri, director of the 
People’s Chorus of New York for a fuU quarter of a century, 
has furthered the cause of fine music among the masses; the two 
annual concerts of his Chorus are among the most popular in New 

The works of painters of Greek extraction are gradually making 
their way into leading American museums . George Constant is repr e- 


sented both at the Metropohtan Museum of Art and the Chicago Art 
Institute. Nassos Daphnis’s canvases are to be found at the Baltimore 
Museum of Art, the Buffalo Albright Art Gallery, and the Portland 
Oregon Museum. John Xceron, an internationally famed non- 
objective painter, is considered one of the leading American artists in 
that field of painting, and his works are to be found at the Museum 
of Modem Art and the Museum of Non-Objective Paintings, New 
York, and in other institutions of similar standing. Aristodimos 
Kaldis, a vigorous painter of the Greek landscape, is also represented in 
well-known galleries, including that of the Barnes Foundation at 
Merion, Pennsylvania. Constantine Pougialis, Alexander Sideris, 
Demetrios Kokotsis, and George Steris have been praised for their 
work by exacting critics, and Polygnotos Vagis occupies a top-rank- 
ing position in American sculpture. 

The Greeks have also distinguished themselves in the theater and 
the motion pictures. George Coulouris and Elia Kazan, both of 
whom are well known on Broadway and in Holl3rwood, are of Greek 
origin. Katina Paxinou, who scored a tremendous success in the film 
For Whom the Bells Tolls, is a later addition to the roster of artists 
from Greece. She belongs to the category of Greeks who reached 
these shores because of World War II. 

This new Greek immigration of the World War II period, although 
relatively not numerous, can and surely will play an important role 
in strengthening the ties between the United States and Greece. 
Mostly consisting of wealthy shipowners and merchants, these new 
arrivals have the means to get acquainted with the best that America 
can offer, so that on their return to Greece, they and their American- 
educated offspring may spread the American ideals of democracy and 
aU the latest achievements of American technical science. The few 
other Greeks who came to this country in recent years are intellec- 
tuals, journalists, and educators, some of whom had their secondary 
education in American educational institutions of the Near East. 
Inspired by the democratic ideals of the United States, they have 
hoped that, with the cessation of political strife in Greece, these same 
ideals will work as smoothly there as they do here. 

The Greeks have proved to be among the most law-abiding citizens 
of foreign extraction, an element of progress and order, loyal to 
their adopted country, though never forgetting their motherland. 
During World War I, about 100,000 Greek immigrants, man y 
recent arrivals from Greece and Asia Minor, served in the American 
Army and Navy, One of them, George Dilboy, became a foremost 



American hero, dying in battle in France and receiving a posthumous 
award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. In Somerville, Massa- 
chusetts, there is a statue' in his memory. A still larger number of 
Greek Americans, many of them American-bom sons and daughters 
of veterans of World War I, served in World War II all over the 
world in the armed forces of the United States. Many were high- 
ranking officers and hundreds of them died in battle, were wounded 
or missing. Ensign Gus George Bebas, of Mfilmette, Illinois, was an 
outstanding hero, having distinguished himself as a Naval flier serving 
on the carrier Hornet. 

The public spiritedness of the Greeks is manifested by their gen- 
erous contributions to every worthy cause. Besides subscribing for 
hundreds of millions of dollars to the war-bond drives, they con- 
tributed to the drives of the United War Fund and the American Red 
Cross sums exceeding in actual dollars and cents those given by other 
ethnic groups, some of which are numerically two or three times larger 
than the Greek group. 

After a long and unrelenting resistance, the people of Greece, with 
assistance from the outside, have succeeded in liberating their country 
— ^which they so proudly consider to be the cradle of democracy — 
from the yoke of the foreign oppressors. Their brothers in the 
United States, by their valuable contributions to the war effort of 
the United States, have given unmistakable proofs of their steadfast 
devotion to the higher ideals of American democracy. It is only 
natural, therefore, that the Greek people, both here and in Greece, 
besides the generous aid now being provided by the United States 
for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Greece, should look for- 
ward to the revision of the Greek immigration quota, which is as 
low as 312 persons a year, so that new Greek blood may enter the 
United States and continue the constructive work that the Greek 
immigrants have accomplished in the half century of their existence 

Francis J. Brown 

Italy, smaller in size than almost any one of our western states, has 
contributed a laj^er number of immigrants to American shores than 
has any other nation in the world, with the single exception of Ger- 
many. In 1940, there were more Itahan-bom Americans than immi- 
grants from any other country. In terms of numbers, total immigra- 


tion from 1820 to June 30, 1943, was 4,719,825. The number of 
Italian Americans, in 1940, who were bom in Italy was 1,623,580 or 
14.2 per cent of the total foreign-bom whites in the United States. 
There were, also, in 1940, 2,971,200 native bom whose parents were 
bom in Italy. Of these by far the largest number, 2,595,000, were 
of parents both of whom had been Italian bom. Combining foreign 
born and native bom of foreign parents, we find that one in every 
eight of the total foreign white stock was an Italian. 


Space does not permit the tracing of the records of the small but 
significant number of Italians who joined the Spanish, Dutch, English, 
and French in early exploration and colonization. Largely of the 
Cathohc faith, they readily affiliated with the Spanish and French, 
and many entered the more liberal colonies, such as Maryland. Sev- 
eral hundred Itahan Catholics, Protestants, and Jews had joined other 
English and Dutch colonies prior to the Revolution. 

The numbers remained small, however, until after the middle of 
the nineteenth century. Only 450 arrived during the first decade of 
the census, 1820-1830, and in 1850 there were less than 4,000 Italians 
in a total population of 23,000,000. Coming largely from the pros- 
perous, industrial areas of northern Italy, these first immigrants were 
importers, musicians, singers, artisans, political exiles, priests, and mis- 
sionaries. By 1850, the urge to come to America had reached lower 
in the economic scale, and the vanguard of vendors and organ grinders 
began to arrive. 

It was not until 1880, ten years after the unification of Italy, that 
the number began to rise in any significant proportion. In the decade 
1871 to 1880, during which more than two and a quarter million 
immigrants arrived from Europe, only 50,000 came from Italy. 
Within two decades that number had multiplied eleven times, and in 
the next ten years it was 25 per cent greater than that of any nation 
in any ten-year period, 2,045,877. In a single year, 300,000 Italians 
came to our shores — ^more than the entire population of one of Italy’s 
most important cities, Venice. 

The number declined during the depression of 1907, but turned 
upward again and once more reached the peak of 300,000. When 
the first World War broke out, the number dropped back to the 1870 
level. Jt rose sharply again after the war to more than 200,000 in 
1921, hut the quota systems established by the immigration laws of 
1921 and 1924 brought the rise to an abrupt end and reduced the 



number once more to the 1870 figures. It is interesting to note, 
however, that during the five-year period, from July i, 1938, to June 
30, 1943, 13,436 Italians came to America — a number exceeded only 
by Germany (80,022), Canada (40,636), and Poland (20,794). 


Any statement of immigration is incomplete without including 
emigration. This is especially true of Italian migration. As pointed 
out elsewhere, no statistics of emigration were kept by the Census 
Bureau prior to 1908. In that one year, however, approximately 
160,000 Italians — ^more than half as many as arrived in the same year 
— returned to their native land. Figure 5 shows the relationship of 




Figure 5 

* Data from U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Immigration and Naturaliza- 
tion, Philadelphia, Pa, 

these two movements of population from 1908 to 1943. While pre- 
dictions are always hazardous, it may be assumed that the major flow 
of Italians, at least in the immediate postwar years, will be out rather 
than in. This will be especially true if opportunities for employment 
are less here than in the reconstruction period of their war-tom native 

Characteristics of immigrants. Equally important with the rise 
ip numbers was the change in the character of the majority of Italian 
immigrants. As previously stated, most of the first immigrants were 
artisans from northern cities in Italy. As word of the opportunities 
in the land at the rainbow’s end came back, it spread southward along 


the Poe, past Rome, and down into the southern provinces, into Sicily 
and the lesser islands. It traveled across the Pyrenees to the shores 
of the Adriatic. No longer was the appeal only to artisans, but the 
humblest merchant left his shop, the peasant his vineyard, fired by 
advertisements paid for by American firms and with transportation 
provided in return for contracted labor in America. Whole villages 
moved almost en masse as the people hurried to ports of debarkation 
and took passage in the steerage. 

The writer will never forget his earliest glimpse of the immigrant 
at first hand. Coming from a small community in the Middle West, 
where the only “foreigners” were the Mexican section hands on the 
railroad, he stood in the receiving room at Ellis Island. What a 
motley array of humanity! Three fourths were men, for, as from 
most of the eastern and southern European countries, the men came 
first. They spoke a jargon of many tongues, were dressed in the 
picturesque suits of their native provinces, and carried their luggage 
in every conceivable container from gunny sack to battered bag. 
Only rarely was there one who gave evidence of coming from pros- 
perous circumstances. 

Although the writer was then only curiously interested in national 
minorities, that picture has remained clear and distinct. How many 
of the thousands of those who were lined up in long rows behind 
iron partitions waiting their turn for clearance were Italians, it would 
be hard to say; but in that glimpse there was something, at least, of 
the whole story of these later arrivals from Italy. From every walk 
of life, they had come to America to find their “pot of gold”; for, 
unlike those from many of the other countries, neither political unrest 
nor reUgious persecution had prompted their decision. 

Cziltziral Differentiation and Assimilation 

Those who came from foreign countries brought with them much 
of their old-world heritage. It is true that the outward symbol was 
dress, but this was only superficial and could be changed overnight. 
The heritage of the homeland was deeper, more meaningful, more 
to be retained than a shawl or the many long flowing skirts. This 
heritage was in the very woof of community and family life. 

Italian backgrounds. For the most part, the great bulk of those 
from southern Italy, especially, had lived in self-contained commuy 
nities; except for traveling peddlers and tinkers, few goods or services 
had come from the outside. Their language was a distinctive dialect. 
Peasant dress also was frequently distinctive, and that for fiestas and 



other occasions was handed down from one generation to another. 
Young people seldom were permitted to marry anyone from outside 
the village. The people tilled their tiny fields, kept open their shops, 
or plied their trade as simple artisans. The village square was the 
gathering place of the community, where goods were exchanged by 
barter in the open markets, where folk dances were held, and where 
friends and neighbors met to discuss politics or to enjoy small talk 
regarding common acquaintances. 

The church was the center of religious and social life, and fiestas 
would extend for days, sometimes, almost merging one into another. 
The high light of many of them was the procession of the saint, 
paraded through the streets on a platform frequently borne on the 
backs of willing participants. 

This sense of unity was fostered further by family organization. 
Basic to family life was the principle of primogeniture — ^the line of 
authority through the oldest male, be he grandfather, father, or son. 
To him, the entire family looked for answers to all questions of policy, 
including approval of whom the members of the family could marry, 
and, for the daughters, all arrangements regarding dowry. 

The rearing of a family — and it was almost always large — ^was a 
serious matter. Until after the turn of the present century, few chil- 
dren attended school, even though compulsory education was estab- 
lished soon after the unification of Italy in 1870. But children were 
early imbued with all the traditions of community and family life — 
how to live in honor and in dignity within its pattern. Almost from 
birth, girls were taught their roles as future wives and mothers, not 
by precept alone, but by taking their share of the work of the house- 
hold and by long hours spent in sewing and embroidering the garments 
for their “hope chests.” Theirs was a carefully chaperoned life in 
which a shy glance at a stranger, noted by observing neighbors, might 
lessen the chances for makmg a good marriage. Sons were early 
taught such simple skills as were needed by breadwinners and by the 
oldest son to carry on his father’s occupation, if an artisan or merchant. 

Immediate problems of adjustment. With this background as an 
integral part of their lives, they came to America. What a disillusion- 
ing experience awaited tihe great majority of them! They learned 
quickly that money and not barter was the method of exchange. 
Few found their simple skills wanted or needed in the new land. 
Only their brawn and their patient toil were in demand. They 
accepted jobs wholly unfamiliar to them in the homeland and worked 
grueMng hours for low wages. They had no reserve with which to 


buy land or to open a shop. Some, working on the docks, bought 
small quantities of fruits and vegetables or other nonperishable com- 
modities and peddled them from open carts. They lived in cheap 
rooming houses and frugally saved to send money back home to 
bring the family over. 

To preserve something of their old-world life, they settled in areas 
with other Italians, frequently groups from the same village Hving 
in the same tenement. Little Itdys such as the Cherry and Mulberry 
Street areas of Manhattan sprang up in every city. Dependent 
whoUy on the meager wages of unskilled labor, they moved into the 
areas left vacant by previous immigrant groups, especially the Irish 
and the Germans, who had moved up a rung on the economic ladder. 
The father was no longer able to support the family, and so boarders 
and roomers were taken into the already overcrowded flat. Boys, 
often only small children, peddled papers, ran errands, and blacked 
shoes. Women and litde daughters substituted flower making and 
sewing buttons on coarse garments for the patient embroidering for 
the “hope ehest.” Women even broke the age-old tradition and 
worked in factories and basement rooms, producing “sweat-shop” 
goods on a piece-work basis. Congestion became almost unbelievable. 
In 1930, 75,000 Itahans lived within sixty city blocks in East Harlem 
in New York City. 

Distribution. Where did they go, this flood of foreigners seeking 
new homes, this vast army of peasants, 66 per cent of whom had been 
agriculturalists in their homeland and 25 per cent skilled artisans? 
Almost all of them arrived in the port of New York — more than one 
million never went further. In 1940, after more than a decade of 
little migration, there were 1,095,000 Italian Americans living in 
New York City, of whom 409,489 were foreign bom. In 1930 the 
number of foreign bom was 440,255. Many other millions either 
moved on after a brief stay in New York or went directly to the city 
to which their predecessors from the home village had migrated. 
Employment agencies operated on a wholesale basis and sent whole 
trainloads to areas where unskilled labor was needed. A compara- 
tively few returned to the soil, but the great majority established 
“Little Italys” in almost every American city with a population of 
25,000 or more. In several of them, Italian Americans comprised 
from 10 to 25 per cent of the total population. In Lodi, New York, 
they comprised 59 per cent of the population in 1930. 

An analysis of Table XV (page 648), reveals a number of significant 
facts. There is a very considerable degree of mobiflty among those 



of Italian stock. During the ten years 1931 to 1940, the number in 
New York, Newark, and Philadelphia showed significant decrease 
while that in Buffalo, Chicago, and Detroit increased proportionately. 
This fact is even more pronounced in regard to the Italian bom; for 
example, while the number in Buffalo declined approximately 7,000, 
in Chicago it increased by r 3,000. 

Of further interest is the varying percentage of the total foreign 
stock who are of Italian extraction; from 4.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent 
in Milwaukee and Seattle respectively to 32.7 per cent in Newark, 
and 35.8 per cent in Providence. In general, however, there tends 
to be definite centralization of Italians in certain communities, as the 
percentage of total foreign stock who are Italian in such cities averages 
approximately 20 per cent as compared with a total national average 
of 13.3 per cent. 

For the most part, these data can be explained by the fact that the 
vast majority of Italian Americans have not risen above the level of 
unskilled labor. Consequently, they shift with varying employment 
opportunities. A further fact is that they have not, in many cases, 
established roots in their new community and prefer to go to areas 
where there are already large numbers of their copatriots. 

One further statement should be made lest the above analysis give 
a false impression. Italian Americans have spread from the landing 
ports to every state in the Union. In 1940 there were, to select only 
a few states, in Alabama, 5,319; California, 100,910; Connecticut, 
329,373; Illinois, 27o,864;New Jersey, 499,383; New York, 1,596,805; 
and Wyoming, 3,115. Some of these people have established them- 
selves in smaller, more rural communities, such as Vineland and Ham- 
monton, New Jersey; Rockville, Connecticut; Cape Cod, Massa- 
chusetts; Monroe and Canastota, New York, and Lambert and 
Daphne, Alabama, to name only a few. 

The number living on farms and in communities of less than 2,500 
is smaller than for any other nationality group except the Greeks. 
The 1940 census shdws 88.5 per cent living in urban communities, 
9.4 per cent rural nonfarm (communities less than 2,500), and only 
2.(5 per cent on farms. And this, in spite of the fact, as stated pre- 
viously, that 66 per cent were agricultural workers on the hills and 
in the narrpw vdleys of their native country! 

Later problems of adjustment. The sharp contrast between all 
that the Italian immigrants knew and valued in the homeland and their 
experiences in America created both immediate and long-range prob- 
lems of adjustment. The former were discussed earlier in this 


chapter. The latter adjustments are still being made with all the ten - 
sions inherent in the rapid social and economic changes forced upon 
the immigrants. 

The most important of these adjustments is in that of family rela- 
tionships. No credence is placed in primogeniture in America, and 
each child has equal responsibility and privilege; girls are free to go 
about unchaperoned and to earn their own livelihood; authority and 
discipline are replaced, in part, by discussion and cooperation; old- 
world customs and fiestas have little value in the heterogeneous popu- 
lation of an American community. While their elders reluctantly 
and gradually made superficial changes — adopted American dress, 
learned a little English, and some took out first citizenship papers — 
their children wished and sought to be Americans. 

The children attended American schools and resented the continued 
use of Italian in their homes; they chafed at the disciplines of the old 
world and tended to flaunt their new freedom; girls insisted on enjoy- 
ing the privileges of their schoolmates, selected their friends and even 
their husbands without parental approval, and frequently those 
chosen were non-Italians; the young people defied old-world tradi- 
tions and customs; they danced to modem tunes rather than the folk 
music dear to their parents; for many, there was a lessening of their 
sense of dependence upon the church. 

While the extent of this conflict between the first and second and 
even the third generation varied widely with families and commu- 
nities, it was inevitable that the elders should berate the “wildness” 
of the young people and that youth should, with equal vigor, disparage 
the values and standards of conduct of their parents. A considerable 
number of the second generation AngHcized both their first and last 

The school, inadvertently perhaps, tended to abet this conflict. 
English was insisted on in the classroom. Children were urged to 
adopt American habits of dress and of food, which were held up as 
superior to those of the old world. Parents were asked to come to 
the school only as a means of disciplining the child. Gradually, how- 
ever, a different attitude and policy developed among educators. 
They recognized that elders, too, sought to adjust themselves to the 
new ways of America and that the old world had much to contribute 
to the children and to the community. With this change, immigrant 
classes were established for adults and children were encouraged to 
value the contributions of their elders. 

Conflict continues and will characterize the behavior problems of 


another generation, but it is now becoming less acute and will continue 
to lessen as each generation becomes more American. 

Naturalization. One indication of assimilation is the rate and 
promptness of becoming citizens. The 1940 census indicates that 
Italians fall only 2.x per cent below the national average of 64.6 per 
cent for all foreign-bom groups. This is an increase of 1 2 per cent 
during the decade 1931 to 1940. 

The press. Of all the foreign-language publications in America, 
those in Italian are fourth in number and in circulation. In 1919 
there were 190 with a circulation of 800,000; in 1943 there were 117, 
with an approximate circulation of 522,883. 

The first Italian newspaper was founded in 1849 and its name, 
L’Eco dUtalia, reflected its purpose. It was a weekly published in 
New York City, but like many a similar first venture, it was short- 
lived. The leading Italian daily today is the ll Progresso Italo- 
Americano, founded in New York in 1 888. It has an English section, 
but the bulk of its ten-page daily and sixteen-page Sunday edition is 
in Italian. Other important publications include 11 Corriore d’ Amer- 
ica and La Stampa Libera. 

The Italian press has, like other foreign-language newspapers, modi- 
fied its editorial policy to meet the varying status of the home country; 
these adjustments have not been easy to make because of the fluem- 
ating policy of the Italian government. 

Organizations. One of the important elements of homeland cul- 
mre that could be transplanted was that of fraternal, social, religious, 
and political organizations. A dominant type was the mumal-aid 
societies — ^ kind of group benefit insurance. Perhaps, unformnately, 
the failure of this kind of organization to adapt itself to the different 
economic conditions in America have led to its gradual and almost 
complete elimination among the Italians. Another type which 
blended social and religious values was centered around the church. 
The congrega of the villages in Sicily or Basilicata were revived in 
the new community dedicated to Maria of the Rosary, St. Joseph, or 
San Calagero. 

As the years passed, a movement developed to unify all Italian 
societies into one national order. Dr. Vincent Sellars was one of 
the chief promoters of the movement, which began about 1900. The 
Order of the Sons of Italy was organized, but a few years later a 
schism developed and the group that broke off called themselves the 
Independent Order of the Sons of Italy. The purposes of both na- 
tional ox^anizations, to be carried on through their local chapters, 


were: to keep alive the culture of the homeland, to encourage the 
continued knowledge and use of the Italian language, and to prepare 
their members for American citizenship. By 1925, hundreds of thou- 
sands of first- and second-generation Italians were members of the 
several thousand local chapters of these organizations. 

Religion. The importance of the church in the Hfe of the Italian 
in his native land created a deep sense of loss when the first large 
stream arrived in America. Although the majority were Catholics 
and many Catholic churches had been founded, the similarity of 
service contrasted with the unfamiliarity of the people and surround- 
ings did not keep the immigrant from feeling a sense of strangeness 
even in the worship of his God. In his homeland, the parish priest 
knew the members of his congregation and took a personal interest 
in each. Here, the priest could not even speak his language, and in 
the vast movement of peoples the individual was scarcely or not at 
all known to the priest. Some tended to drift away from the church; 
others organized Italian congregations and procured a priest of their 
own tongue. 

At Piacenza, an institute was founded to train missionaries to work 
among the Italian immigrants in America. In 1888 the first so trained 
came to the United States and began work in many cities through the 
country. Other religious orders also took similar steps, including 
Franciscans (both monks and nuns), Salesians, the Sisters of Mother 
Cabrini, and the Pallotine Sisters; and later a branch of the Italica Gens 
was founded in America. 

ItaHan Protestants tended more than Catholics to affiliate with 
churches of their own denomination having a mixed national con- 
gregation. However, evangelical missions, churches, and schools 
sought to serve the Italian immigrants and their second-generation 

In many Italian-American communities the fiesta is still celebrated 
almost unchanged from that conducted in the shadow of the Pyrenees. 
But for the young people, who have no memories beyond America, 
fiesta is losing its significance, though religion itself may be as potent 
a factor in their lives as its ritual is to their parents. 

Adjustments in World War II. When Mussolini came to power 
in 1922, a small number of Italian Americans endorsed the new gov- 
ernment. As glowing accounts of public works and other improve- 
ments were brought back by relatives and friends, the number who 
approved increased, as it did also among the general population. The 


current judgment among the Italians was that Mussolini was good for 
Italy, but not for America. 

When Italy attacked Ethiopia, the sentiment began to' shift among 
the majority of Itahans in America. They did not concur in Musso- 
lini’s dream of empire and resented his slurring remarks about Amer- 
ica, for, as new citizens, they knew what America had meant to them. 
Despite efforts to induce them to return to Italy, only a small number 
did so. 

An almost unprecedented situation occurred, however, when the 
United States declared war on Italy in 1942. Nearly 600,000 foreign- 
bom and unnaturalized Italians became “alien enemies.” They were 
restricted and put under surveillance, but after ten months of watch- 
ing, on Columbus Day, 1942, United States Attorney-General Biddle 
announced, “Out of the total of 600,000, there has been cause to intern 
only 228 or fewer than one twentieth of i per cent! Italian ahens 
will no longer be classed as ahen enemies. They will be free to travel 
and to go about their Hves as any other person.” In this statement 
was expressed a trust and confidence seldom equaled, and Italian 
Americans responded in enthusiastic support of every phase of total 

Contributions to American Life"^ 

The contributions of those of Itahan origin have been continuous, 
though space permits only a cursory reference to early explorers and 
missionaries and a selected summary of the contributions of only a 
few who have given so much to our modern life in America. 

Rehgious educational instirations were founded in New France and 
New Spain by Itahan missionaries and priests. Perhaps the two most 
outstanding priests were Father Eusebio Chino and Father Marco 
da Nizza. The former traveled to the west coast; the latter was 
with the Coronado expedition and went as far west as Nebraska. 
Father Chinn did more than explore and erect churches for the Indians 
he converted. He taught the Indians trades and European farming 
methods and helped in the establishment of the stock-raising industry. 

Americus Vespucius, who gave his name to America, was of Italian 
origin as was, of course, Christopher Columbus. 

^ With some modifications, this section is reproduced from the first edition of this 
book, and was originally prepared by Leonard Covello, principal of Benjamin 
Franklin High School in New York City, and an editor of the Casa Italiana publica- 


Art atid music. The material in hand shows how largely Italians 
have been represented in many fields of endeavor. In the sphere of 
art and music, in particular, the immigrant and his children have 
achieved desirable positions. Among artists whose work has com- 
manded national attention may be mentioned Cappellano, Persico, 
Brumidi, Costaginni, Amateis, Franzoni, Valperti, Causici, Trenta- 
nove, and Vincenti. Their genius found notable expression in the 
adornment of the Capitol at Washington. Of these, Brumidi, per- 
haps, is the best known. He was called “the Michael Angelo of the 
Capitol,” and left behind him the famous Capitol frescoes “Storia del 
America,” “Washington at Yorktown,” “L’Apoteosi de Washington,” 
and “Cincinnato all ’aratro.” It was he who painted the “Crocefis- 
sione,” considered the greatest oil painting of its time. 

Amateis, who died in 1920, made the bronze doors of the national 
Capitol. Franzoni designed and executed the bronze clock in the 
Capitol with the statue of “Storia” on its top. The emblematic eagle 
in the Capitol was sculptured by Valperti. The statue, “Liberty 
Proclaiming Peace,” is the work of Causici. The “Pere Marquette” 
statue in the House of Representatives was done by Trentanove; the 
“Indian Chief, Be-She-Ke,” by Vincenti. The statues “Marta” and 
“Cerere” are by Cappellano. Persico sculptured the groups “H Genio 
d’Americo” and “Scoperta del Nuovo Mondo.” 

Other Italian sculptors who are well known in art circles are 
Onorio Ruotolo and Attilio Piccirilli, the “stone-cutter” who was 
chosen by the New York Journal as the artist for the “Monument to 
the Martyrs of the Maine.” His many other works are too well 
known to be listed here. He has received many honors, among them 
awards from the Academia del Pantheon di Roma, the National Sculp- 
ture Society, the Architectural League of New York, and the Na- 
tional Academy. He was the first Italian artist to receive such recog- 
nition. It is also interesting to note here that an Italian, Luigi Palma 
di Cesnola, archeologist, collector, and lover of art, was appointed 
director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the first year of its 

In the noncreative sphere of art, it may be noted that some of the 
outstanding art galleries are owned and directed by Italians and that 
there are many art dealers of importance who are Italian. Likewise, 
some of the most noted art jewelers in the United States are Italians. 
The largest foundry in the United States for the casting of fine art 
work is owned by Commendatore Riccardo Bertelli. 



The field of music is so broad and the range of Italian influence so 
wide that it cannot be covered here. Mention may be made, how- 
ever, of the fact that the first orchestra in the United States was 
founded by an Italian and that the first orchestra leader and director of 
the Metropolitan Opera House was an Italian. The Metropohtan was 
opened in 1883, with Cleofante Campanini as orchestra leader. In 
1895 Luigi Mancinelli succeeded him. 

In the world of opera, Italian singers are pre-eminent. The list of 
those who have acquired fame in the United States is very long. It 
includes Enrico Caruso, Tetrazzini, Adelina Patti, Antonio Scotti, 
Rosa Ponselle, Rosa Raisa, Amelita Galli-Curci, Giovanni Martinelli, 
Guiseppe de Luca, Tito Schipa, Tito Ruffo, Beniamini Gigli, Pasquale 
Amato, and many others. 

The group of leaders and directors of opera includes notable names 
such as Arturo Vigna, Rodolfo Ferrari, Roberto Moranzoni, Gennaro 
Papi, Giulio Setti, (iino Marinuzzi (a composer also), Francesco 
Cimino, Attico Bemabini, Fortunato Gallo, Italo Montezzi, and the 
incomparable Arturo Toscanini. Nor should one forget Giuho 
Gatti-Casazza, whose name was almost synonymous with that of the 
Metropolitan for so many years. 

Before the Metropohtan Opera House existed, the Academy of 
Music was opened in 1854 by Italians for the presentation of Itahan 
music and, in 1883, an Italian opera house was opened. Among 
librettists, it is interesting to call attention to Lorenzo da Ponte, 
librettist for Mozart, who opened the first store for opera hbrettos in 
the United States. He was also the first to sell imported books in 
New York pty. 

Commerce mi indtistry. Turning from art and music to com- 
merce and industry, one finds Italians conspicuous in these spheres 
also. Antonio Zucca, pioneer in imports from Italy, began his busi- 
ness in the United States in 1850. Between 1850 and 1855 one finds 
the names of Fratelh Fabricotti, dealing in marble and alabaster; 
Conte, stuffs and materials; Fratelli Pia, tin and pewter toys; Morelli, 
restaurants; and Meucci, who operated the tallow-candle factory in 
which Garibaldi worked while liviug in New York City and awaiting 
the moment when the success of the Risorgimento in Italy would give 
him enduring fame. 

In 1885, the Itahan Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1883 by 
Professor Alessandro Oldrini, was incorporated. In 1890, the Itahan 
Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco was established. In 1919, 


on November 6, the Italian Chamber of Labor was established in 
New York City. Its aim was to organize Italian workers into labor 

The categories of Italian industry in the United States include, 
among others, tailors, barbers, bakers, painters (house painters) , deco- 
rators, carpenters, weavers, printers, mechanics, and makers of musical 
instruments. In fact, there is today scarcely an industry to which 
Italians have not contributed. 

Italians are among the youngest of our “new” immigrants, yet 
within a span of little more than half a century they have made lasting 
contributions to America. The great majority are not known as 
individuals, for theirs has been a gift of brawn and patient labor. 
One cannot ride a train or drive on trunk highways without traveling 
over roadbeds laid by Italian labor. Skyscrapers and industrial estab- 
lishments were built by Italian hands. Mines and forests, factories 
and retail establishments, require the services of many who are un- 
named but whose labor provides essential services. 

Still in the lower level of our economy, many have risen above it, 
and their names are known among the galleries of the great. Others, 
too, will rise. All that is needed — ^but this is much — ^is the great 
understanding, the larger opportunity, that appreciation of their value 
will justly bring. 

Francis J. Brown 

To the average individual, any reference to the Spaniard in Anier- 
ica recalls the “bloody trails of Coronado” with his men in shining 
armor in a ruthless quest for gold. The English are recalled from 
history texts as men of religious fervor coming on a courageous voyage 
to carve their homes from the wilderness; the French, as devout mis- 
sionaries seeking to convert the Indians to Christianity. 

While each is true, it is true only in part, and in each group were 
those prompted by each of the three motives. The failure to recog- 
nize this fact is more unfortunate in the instance of the Spaniards 
than for either of the others, as it deprecates the patient courageous 
labor of those early Spanish pioneers and missionaries. 

A century before the landings on Plymouth Rock, Spanish ex- 
plbrers, colonists, and missionaries had landed in Mexico, and by the 
late 1500’s Mexico City, its capital, had become a wealthy center of 
culture and of learning with a university already a half-century old. 



The wilderness had been explored and prosperous mining towns 

It was in 1598 that Juan de Onate received permission from the 
king of Spain to cross the Rio Grande. A little band of 1 36 pushed 
its way northward. The record of their journeys is found written 
in Spanish on Inscription Rock in northwest New Mexico: “Passed 
by here the officer Don Juan de Onate to the discovery of the sea 
to the south on the i6th of April, 1605.” The record is more than 
a mere inscription in stone, it is a monument to the early history of 
our Southwest and, more especially, of southern California, Arizona, 
New Mexico, and western Texas. In later years missions were estab- 
lished eastward to Florida and as far north as Virginia, joining with 
missions founded by the Spaniards who had come directly across the 
Atlantic. With the decline of Spain as a world power, new mis- 
sionary efforts both in Florida and in the West virtually ceased. But 
the missionaries who remained continued their labors in the Southwest 
and, despite Indian uprisings, churches and settlements were rebuilt. 
The imprint of Spain was left so deeply embedded that its heritage 
characterizes much of the life of these areas even today. 

Exploration and settlement also ended with the defeat of the 
Spanish Armada, but the Spaniards had remade the geography of the 
Americas and had brought into its empire vast stretches of North, 
Central, and South America, including nearly half of our own terri- 


For the Spaniards, more than any other nationality group, there is 
a long gap between their important place in the earliest American 
history and the time when Spanish immigration assumed important 
significance in modem America. It is not to be implied by this state- 
ment that all immigration ceased but rather that for nearly two hun- 
dred years it was significant neither in its character nor its number. 

The largest number to migrate to America in any decade from 1820 
to 1900 was 9,298 during the period 1851 to i860; the lowest was 
2,125 during 1831-1840; and the average for the seven decades was 
approximately .5,000. This is in sharp contrast to the immigration 
from other European countries, which, during the same period, 
reached more than a half million in a single decade from Austria- 
Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Russia. 

The new immigration from Spain increased to approximately 28,000 
during the years 1891 to 1900, and to 68,500 in the succeeding decade. 


This was the highest peak of new arrivals, and the number dropped 
back in the decade 1921-1930 to 29,000, because of the immigration 
laws. During each year, from June 30, 1931 to the same date 1936, 
emigration exceeded immigration. In the years from 1936 to June 
30, 1943, except for 1940, the trend reversed, but the numbers were 
too small to be important. For the total thirteen-year period, only 
6,011 came to the United States while 20,112 left America for Spain, 
lured, for the most part, by the desire to participate in one side or 
the other of the Spanish Civil War. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

The problems of Spanish Americans can be understood only if 
three facts are born continually in mind. The first has been empha- 
sized earlier: differentiation between the descendants of the Spanish 
colonists and the new immigration. The second is the tendency to 
group all Spanish-speaking together as one national minority. Noth- 
ing could be further from the truth. It is estimated that there are be- 
tween two and a half and three miUion people in the United States for 
whom Spanish is the native language, although the 1 940 census gives the 
number for whom Spanish is the “mother tongue” as 1,861,400. The 
largest concentration is in New Mexico with two fifths of the popula- 
tion spealdng Spanish. Of these groups, approximately 250,000 are 
Spanish colonials, including the new immigrants. The others are 
Mexicans, Latin Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and small groups 
from other Spanish-speaking areas. The third fact, in some respects 
more true of the Spanish than of the early colonials, is that although 
they have intermarried with other groups, they have kept their own 
language and customs. 

Any analysis of cultural differentiation and assimilation must be 
based on a recognition of these facts, and any program for the im- 
provement of the status of Spanish Americans must be differentiated 
in terms of the varying problems of each group. 

The early Spanish colonial clings tenaciously to the heritage of his 
forefathers. Most of the old haciendas of the wealthy landowners 
have disappeared and small owners have lost their title to the land 
through the laws of the “Anglos” in contrast to the vague grants of 
Mexico and of Old Spain. But they have not given up their pride 
in the achievement of their forebears or their sense of loss in their 
changed status. 

The memories, ideas, customs, and traditions of sixteenth-century 
Spain are stiU an integral part of their pattern of life. The archjr 



tecture and the furnishings of their homes are of the old world. Their 
songs and folk dances are of Spanish origin. To them, the church 
and the family are the two ties that bind them together. Only a few 
successfully bridged the gap of the centuries and became ranchers 
or entered business or the professions. Although public schools were 
established after 1890, the education was not adapted to their special 
needs, and many still sent their children to the parochial schools or 
were content to give them what little education was needed in the 

The past quarter of a century has brought changes more important 
than those of all the centuries. Better schools and government proj- 
ects are changing the lives, especially of the young people. They are 
breaking away from the past of their elders, but with the conflict 
inevitable in such a period of transition. 

The new Spanish immigrants, who were largely farmers and 
laborers, can be grouped roughly into three types: seafaring men from 
the coastal cities of northwestern Spain; those from the interior of the 
Basque provinces; and those from central and southern Spain. The 
first group have tended to follow the sea and live in coastal cities. 
The second went almost entirely to the west-coast states. Some 
settled in Spanish-speaking communities in the Southwest; others 
went farther north and established new centers of Spanish immigration 
in Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Washington, and Idaho, 
the last being sometimes referred to as the Basque state. They are, 
for the most part, day laborers, cooks, shepherds, cowhands, clerks, 
and gardeners. A few have entered the professions. 

Many of the third group, from central and southeastern Spain, went 
first to the Hawaiian Islands. The statement is made, which appar- 
ently has some basis of fact, that several shiploads believed they were 
coming to America until told on shipboard that they were being 
sent to work in the sugar plantations in Hawaii. After earning 
enough for repassage, 95 per cent came to the United States, the 
majority settling within one hundred and fifty miles of San Francisco. 

Both colonials and new immigrants tend to settle in or create new 
Spanish communities in which their language, customs, and institu- 
tions are perpetuated. Dominantly Catholic, much of their cultural 
life centers around the church. In Los Angeles alone there are 
seventeen Spanish Catholic churches. 

Fraternal organizations. Like almost all foreign-language groups, 
the Spanish have their own social and fraternal organizations. These 
include the Centro Vasco, the Union Espanola de California, the 


Sociedad Espanola de Beneficientici Alutua, the Sociedcid Cervantes, 
and La Union Beneficia Espanola. As implied in the names, most 
of these societies carry mutual benefits. The last named is the largest 
and is typical of the services given to its members. It cares for the 
sick, provides death benefits, gives legal advice, and carries on social 
and sometimes educational activities. 

The press. Like other foreign-language newspapers, those in 
Spanish are faced with the twofold problem of serving the older 
people whose interests are largely of the homeland and their own 
group activities, and the young people who are bilingual and whose 
interests reach beyond their own minority group. The Spanish press 
is faced with the further problem of serving diverse Spanish-speaking 

The newspaper with the largest circulation and with the most 
inclusive coverage is La Prensa, edited by Jose Camprubi. and pub- 
lished in New Y ork City. A Los Angeles publication, El Antifas cista, 
was, as implied in the name, continuously anti-Fascist. 

Educational organizations. Within the last twenty-five years, a 
number of organizations have been developed to help the Spanish- 
speaking peoples to bridge the gap of transition. One such organ- 
ization is the Del Amo Foundation, .established in 1929 to foster mutual 
understanding between Spain and the United States by arranging for 
an exchange of professors and college students. The Spanish Revolu- 
tion and W'orld War II made the work of this organization difficult. 
Another organization with a different program is the Accion Cultural 
Hispanica in San Francisco. Until recently it was partially sup- 
ported by the Spanish government. Its purpose is to give free in- 
struction in the teaching of Spanish to the children of Spanish colonials 
and, at a small fee, to others. Similar schools have been established in 
other communities. In 1926, Dr. Gregorio del Amo established 
the Cominguez Seminary in Compton, California, to prepare young 
men for the priesthood. 

World War II and after. With the coming of World War II 
and the emphasis on intercultural education among the Americas (see 
Chapter XXXI), the government began to take a more active interest 
in the Spanish-speaking groups in the United States. Several state 
organizations were formed and in 1941, the School of Inter- American 
Affairs was established at the University of New Mexico for those 
interested in working on regional problems; in cooperation with local 
groups, it has sponsored conferences, exhibits, and adult education 



The federal government has also established various activities in the 
interest of these groups (see Chapter XXII). To what extent the 
activities of the federal government will continue in the postwar 
period is problematical, but their influence and the assimilative process 
of war will leave a lasting impression. 

Contributions to American Life 

The gifts of the Spanish Americans, like those of many minority 
groups, fall into two types: those of the vast group who by their toil 
have given much, and those of individuals who have risen above the 
mass and whose names are associated with specific contributions. To 
these two, in the instance of the Spanish Americans, a third must be 
added, in many ways more important than either of the others: the 
cultural heritage of Old Spain that still lives in sections of Florida and 
the entire Southwest. Names of innumerable rivers, towns, and 
cities and of four states — ^Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and California — 
are Spanish. Spanish is more common than English in many com- 
munities. Signs in stores are printed in both Spanish and English, and 
Spanish script accompanies moving pictures. Bells cast in Old Spain 
and hanging in adobe Spanish missions still call the people to worship. 

The most obvious contribution, as one travels in the Southwest, is 
the distinctive type of architecture. Its dominance varies in the 
cities, but one can travel for great distances through scattered villages 
and, without changing other than the glaring sign of an occasional 
movie house, be back again across the span of time and space in the 
villages of Spain. Professor Bolton^ has forcefully described these 
contributions as follows: 

There are still other marks of Spanish days on the southern border. We 
see them in social, religious, economic, and even legal practices. Every- 
where in the Southwest there are quaint church customs brought from 
Spain or Mexico by the early pioneers. At Christmas time in San An- 
tonio one can see Los Pastores enacted. California has her Portola fes- 
tival, her rodeos, and her Mission Play. From the Spaniard the American 
cowboy inherited his trade, his horse, his outfit, his lingo and his meth- 
ods. Spain is stamped on our land surveys. From Sacramento to St. 
Augustine nearly everybody holds his acres by a title going back to 
Mexico or Madrid. Most of the farms, in a wide swath along the border, 
are divisions of famous grants which are stiU known by their original 
Spanish names. In the realm of law, principles regarding mines, water 

E. Bolton, ‘T>efensii7e Spanish Expansion and the Significance of the Border- 
lands,” pp. 37-39 in The Trans-Mississippi West, edited by J. F. Willard, and C. B. 
Goodykoontz. Botilder, Colorado: University of Colorado, 1930. 


rights on streams, and the property rights of women— to mention only a 
few— have been retained from the Spanish regime. From our Spanish 
forerunners in the Southwest we got our first lessons in irrigation, that 
art which has become one of our primary southwestern interests. Not 
the least important part of our heritage has been the Hispanic appeal to 
our imagination. The Spanish occupation has furnished theme and color 
for a myriad of writers, great and small. Lomes and Dobie, Lummis and 
Willa Gather, Bret Harte and Espinosa have shown that these inter-Amer- 
ican bounds have a Spain-tinged folklore as rich as that of the Scottish 
border embalmed by Sir Walter Scott. 

A less obvious contribution is in the field of migrant agricultural 
labor, sheepherding, and ranching. Although it is stated that during 
World War I 30 to 40 per cent of the unskilled workers in munition 
plants were Spaniards from Spain,^ only a few entered factories or 
mines. Nor have they in any large numbers joined those of similar 
language, especially the Mexicans, as section hands on the railroads. 
Some have become shop keepers and others have entered the profes- 
sions. In the first World War, New Mexico had a higher percentage 
of volunteers than had any other state, and 60 per cent of these were 
of Spanish descent. 

The number of Spanish Americans whose names are well known 
could be much extended. In 1859 Jose Francisco de Navarro built 
the first American sea-going iron steamship, the Matanzas, and in 
1 878 he constructed the first elevated railway in New York City. He 
established the Atlas Cement Company and was one of the organizers 
of the Equitable Life Insurance Company. Augustin V. Zamorano 
brought the first printing press to California. Cesar Bor) a, Antonio 
Heros, Erasmo Buceto are but three of many Spanish Americans on 
university faculties. In the motion picture fields can be named: 
Ramon Pereda, Louis Albemi, and Rosita and Antonia Moreno. In 
radio and in the arts are other names, but enough have been given to 
indicate that the contributions of the present Spanish Americans may 
be as significant for the future as their past is to the present. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

It is always interesting to learn when the first immigrants from 
any country entered the United States, even though their contribution 
is not measured by their length of residence. It is known that 
Portuguese explorers chartered the California coast in the sixteenth 

2 “Spaniards In the United States,” Literary Digest, March 22, 1919, p. 38. 



century. A few Portuguese came to the colonies during the eight- 
eenth century, particularly to coast towns in Massachusetts, from 
where, after 1765, ships engaging in the whale fishery sailed tp the 
edge of the Gulf Stream, the Western Islands (Azores), and the 
Brazilian Banks. The masters of the American whalemen carried 
with them from the Western Islands, where they invariably stopped 
for supphes, boys to serve as foremast hands or to work in the steerage. 
When these Portuguese boys became expert seamen, they were usually 
signed up by the captain at an American consulate in any foreign port 
where the ship might stop, and as seamen they would enter the United 

In time, a great many of these Western Islanders found employment 
as American whalemen, and one author, writing in the 1850’s, declared 
that “almost every vessel sailing from New Bedford carried more or 
less of them.” A number of these boys were raised as sons in New 
England famihes, taking the name of the family, although keeping 
their Catholic religion. 

A number of Portuguese came to California during the gold rush 
of 1849. The Homestead Act of 1865 and the subsequent popula- 
tion movement westward brought others, especially around the turn 
of the century. They were attracted to the New England whaling 
industry, to the Rhode Island fishing fleets, and to the California fish- 
ing industry. Up to, and during, the period of World War I, the 
nulls and factories of New York, Massachusetts, California, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey drew the Portuguese. 

In addition, two thousand came from Hawaii between 1911 and 
1914, because of poor working conditions and low wages on island 
plantations. All in aU, in 1920, the Portuguese stock in the United 
States numbered approximately 106,000, of whom two thirds were 
in New England centers (Boston, Cambridge, Providence, Fall River, 
Lowell, and New Bedford) . The 1 940 census gives 1 76,407 of whom 
62,347 were foreign bom. 

Settlements. The largest Portuguese colonies are in New Bedford, 
Massachusetts, and Oakland, California. In California the first settlers 
were largely of the sailor class. They were followed by farmers who 
went to the west coast direcdy from the Azores, Madeira, and the 
Cape Verde Islands, as well as from continental Portugal, or indirectly 
after having lived in the Hawaiian Islands. Others, in more recent 
years, have moved to the Pacific coast from New England. 

1 Raul d’Eca, “The Portuguese in the United States,” Social Science, XIV (October 

1939). PP- 365-369- 


As early as the 1850’s, there were two Portuguese settlements in 
Illinois, one north of Springfield and the other near Jacksonville. 
Each numbered about five hundred settlers and was composed almost 
exclusively of Protestant Portuguese exiles from Madeira. They 
were induced to come here by the American Protestant Society, and 
the American Hemp Company promised them land and employment. 
Left stranded on reaching America, they were helped, by contribu- 
tions from New York and from residents of Springfield, Illinois, to 
proceed westward. 

Czdttiral Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. By 1899, the Portuguese and the French Canadians 
were the dominant labor groups in the cotton mills of New Bedford. 
In general, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, most of them work in 
factories, although many are engaged in fishing, in farming, and in 
other skilled and nonskilled occupations. Thus, for example, in 
Gloucester and Provincetown, Massachusetts, there are large groups 
of fishermen, either Portuguese or of Portuguese descent; in Ports- 
mouth, Rhode Island, and parts of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a large 
proportion of the farmers and. rural laborers also are Portuguese. In 
New Bedford and Fall River, Massachuetts, and in a few other com- 
munities of the eastern United States, there are many Portuguese in- 
dustrial workers. 

In California, a number of Portuguese became farmers, usually 
working as laborers for their countrymen already established there. 
The large majority of them are in central California and within a 
hundred miles of San Francisco. In 1920, the Portuguese ranked 
third highest in ownership of land and fourth highest in value of 
farms in California. In addition, they are said to control 75 per cent 
of the cattle of the state. This is true, no doubt, partly because they 
came, not to make their “pile” and then return to the old country, 
but to settle, and to raise their families in America. 

Social divisions. The Portuguese Americans are composed of sev- 
eral distinctive groups.^ The mainland Portuguese are distinguished 
by some Moorish or Negro admixture. In the Azores, there is a 
Flemish admixture and perhaps also a Negroid element. The immi- 
grants from the Cape Verde Islands — ^the “Bravas” rank lowest, being 

2 Donald R. Taft, Two Portuguese Comnmnities in New England, New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1923; Carl Wittke, We Who Built America, pp. 45i->454. 
New York: Prentice-Hall, 1939. 



very dark-skinned — are located mostly in New Bedford and in the 
cranberry bogs of Cape Cod. They are to be distinguished from 
the Portuguese coming from other sources in the fact that they are 
mostly of the African race. Next in the cultural scale are the 
Azoreans and then those who come from the mainland. 

Acculturation. Nine tenths of the Portuguese immigrants were 
unskilled, living in squalid tenements and having a very high mortality 
rate. But as farmers they work hard, cultivate intensively, and are 
extremely frugal. Those marrying into other groups in California 
marry almost entirely with Cathohcs. 

The old-world patterns have been retained to a considerable degree. 
The man is distinctly the head of the family. In many a home, the 
daughter is still merely an apprentice to the mother, learning to be 
an obedient, faithful, dihgent wife, versed in old-world culture pat- 
terns and steeped in traditions. She is courted and married in accord- 
ance with old-world custom. The males usually leave school as early 
as possible and take up dairy work or fishing (or get a factory job) 
and later marry the daughter of another Portuguese. Religious and 
fraternal festivals play a great part. 

Organizations and the press. The Portuguese Americans have 
numerous societies and social and athletic clubs. The organizations 
that pay sick and death benefits are the Azoreana, St. Michael’s 
Portuguese Benefit Society, and the St. Pedro Portuguese Society. 
In California, there are at least four active Portuguese fraternal organ- 
izations, with two or more women’s auxiliaries. In the same state 
there are five newspapers printed in the Portuguese language. Al- 
though in Hawaii few second- and third-generation Portuguese can 
speak or read the language, in California approximately 50 per cent 
of Portuguese children are bilingual. Two radio stations (in Oak- 
land and Long Beach, California) broadcast programs in Portuguese 
each week. 

The Portuguese do not easily assimilate, for their cultural patterns 
— slanguage, names, gestures, rehgion, and other institutions — differ 
from those of the controlling group under whom they work. Then, 
too, most of them work in the lowest labor brackets. How the social- 
distance principle is practiced against them is evident from a special 
census classification that calls them “other Caucasians.” To their 
critics they are known as “Portagee.” Having strong control of the 
dairying industry throughout Califonxia and of the fishing industry, 
especially in the San Diego area, they have tended to segregate them- 
selves from other groups. As one writer puts it: 


It is shocking to find that these peaceful, laborious, and thrifty people 
had the highest illiteracy percentage among all aliens admitted into the 
United States (between 1899 and 1910), one of the highest infant mor- 
tality rates in the whole country . . . and the lowest percentage of nat- 
uralized citizens of the United States . . . , the latter two conditions be- 
ing, undoubtedly, consequences in great part of the former. It would 
be fitting to conclude these remarks by calling the attention of the social 
agencies which aim at correcting human deficiencies such as those just 
indicated, to the Portuguese in the United States, who otherwise seem to 
be worthy raw material for American citizenship.” ® 

Contributions to American Life 

The outstanding American of Portuguese descent was John Philip 
Sousa, leader of the United States Marine Band and composer of much 
famous march music.* George Hard De Sylva, one of the greatest 
of America’s music producers, song writers, and motion-picture 
makers, comes from Portuguese backgrounds. His father descended 
from an old and aristocratic Portuguese family.® 

The American Portuguese have, too, brought their gifts and tradi- 
tions to give color and variety to American life. A study of the 
Portuguese fishermen of Cape Cod, for instance, and of their colorful 
customs, demonstrates well the sort of contributions that many even 
of the smallest groups are making to America.® 

3 Raul d’Eca, op. cit.^ p. 369. 

4 Mina Lewiton, John Philip Sousa: The March King. New York: Didier, 1944. 

^Noel F. Busch, “Buddy De Sylva,” Life, IX (December 30, 1940), pp. 50-55. 

®W. Edward Crane, “Sons of the Azores on Cape Cod,” pp. 275-286, in Mary B. 

McLellan and Albert V. De Bonis, Eds., Within Our Gates. New York: Harper 
and Brothers, 1940. 


Jewish Americans 

Harry Schneiderman and Julius B. Mauler 

T he story of the jews in America is a study in social economic 
adaptation and psychological adjustment. Coming from many 
lands and a variety of old-world traditions, the Jews have shown 
characteristic adaptiveness to the American economy, culture, and 
social pattern. Though largely concentrated in a number of urban 
communities, Jews are to be found throughout the land and in every 
walk of American life. 

There are approximately five million Jews in the United States, 
and the great majority of them are of native birth. Exact figures are 
not available, since the United States census does not inquire into 
religious afiiliations. The estimate given is fairly reliable, however, 
being based on the records of Jewish congregations, immigration data, 
and estimates from local communities throughout the country. 

Jewish immigration into the United States can be divided into four 
major periods. The first Jewish immigrants came during the colonial 
period and were of Spanish and Portuguese origin. At the outbreak 
of the Revolutionary War, there were about 2,000 Jews in the 
colonies. The second wave came from Germany after the fall of 
Napoleon in 1815, and, in larger numbers, following the collapse of 
the uprisings of 1848. This German-Jewish group consisted for the 
most part of white-collar workers and professionals. The third and 
by far the largest wave of Jewish immigration to the United States 
stemmed from eastern Europe and began in 1881 as a mass exodus 
from countries where the Jews were in danger of physical persecution 
— particularly Czarist Russia, where the plight of the Jews had been 
made much more difficult by the May Laws of 1882. Nearly two 
million Jews entered the United States between 1881 and 1920, most 
of them skilled and unskilled workers and tradesmen, with a small 
number of professionals. The fourth wave of Jewish immigration 
began after World War I and may be divided in two groupings: 



those who left Europe immediately after World War I because of 
postwar economic dislocations, and those who fled as refugees from 
persecution by the Nazi regime in Germany and in other countries, 
occupied or dominated by Germany during World War 11 . 

Distribution and Social-Economic Differ e7ttiation 

The Jews of the United States are widely distributed and reside in 
every state, with considerable concentration in urban areas. All cities 
of 25,000 inhabitants or over have Jewish residents, and Jews con- 
stitute nearly ii per cent of the total population in cities of 100,000 
or over. New York City has over 2,000,000 Jews, approximately 
28 per cent of the total population of the city. 

Economic status. During the past one hundred and fifty years, 
when the occupational and social traditions of the immigrants harmo- 
nized with the general trends of American economy, the Jews estab- 
lished themselves in a variety of occupations. Today they are most 
heavily represented in trade, in the manufacturing and mechanical 
industries, and in the professions, particularly in the fields of medicine 
and law. 

As for banking and finance, a survey conducted by Fortune Maga- 
zine showed that of the 420 listed directors of the nineteen member 
firms of the New York Clearing House, in 1933, approximately 7 
per cent were Jews. Similarly, only a small percentage of Jews have 
places in the investment field, the greatest houses being entirely non- 
Jewish. Very few Jews have entered the steel, coal, rubber, auto- 
mobile, aviation, transport, and shipping industries. One great busi- 
ness that was built up by Jews in this country is the clothing 
industry. Jews have also done pioneering work in motion pictures 
and radio, yet it should be noted that of the eight principal motion 
picture companies, five are largely non- Jewish controlled, and the 
vast majority of local radio stations outside of New York are non- 
Jewish in ownership. 

Religion and community life. The diversity in origin of the Jews 
who came to this country is clearly reflected in the many-sidedness 
of Jewish community life. No one organization or group can call 
itself the representative body of the five million American Jews. Ac- 
cording to the 1936 Census of Religious Bodies, there are 3,728 Jewish 
congregations in the United States, divided among the three religious 
groupings. Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative. Orthodox Judaism 

^Jew in America^ Editors of Fortune, Random House, 1936, 



demands adherence to all the tenets in the code of biblical and rabbinic 
law. Most Orthodox congregations are small, but important Ortho- 
dox synagogues are to be found in all large cities. Orthodox rabbis 
receive training at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary 
in New York or the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago. 

Reform Judaism came into being in the nineteenth century in 
Europe, as the result of attempts to adapt religious practices to the 
general environment. The authoritative body of the Reform rabbis 
who are trained at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati or the 
Jewish Institute of Rehgion in New York is the Central Conference 
of American Rabbis. In 1873, the Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations was established as the unifying agency of the Reform 
congregations, and it now includes more than three hundred con- 

Conservative Judaism, representing the middle way between 
Orthodoxy and Reform, numbers 350 congregations, all of which 
are constituents of a central body, the United Synagogue of America. 
The rabbis of this group, the majority of them graduates of the Jewish 
Theological Seminary of America, are organized in the Rabbinical 
Assembly of America. 

The Synagogue Council of America, organized in 1925, represents 
all congregational and rabbinical organizations in America. Its pur- 
pose is to speak and act in furtherance of the common interests of its 
constituent organizations. 

The largest secular movement of American Jews is Zionism, The 
Ziorusts look upon the Jews as a nation whose historic traditions are 
centered in a spiritual homeland in Palestine. To Zionists, Palestine 
is the central issue in Jewish hfe, destined to serve not only as a haven 
for persecuted Jews of various countries but also as a national home- 
land for all Jews. Zionist organizations had some 207,000 members 
in 1943. 

The many needs, desires, and interests of the variegated Jewish 
commrmity in this country are answered by numerous welfare, cul- 
tural, fraternal, and social orgam’zations. About 345,000 people 
belonged to thirteen Jewish fraternal orders in the United States in 
1940. Outstanding among these is the B’nai B’rith, which, includ- 
ing affiliates, has 163,000 members. An organization which in the 
past aided in the adjustment of Jewish immigrants was the landsmmn- 
schaft, created by groups of Jews from eastern Europe who banded 
themselves together on the basis of the places from which they came. 
Each society was made up of individuals from the same native town 


or region. In addition to their social functions, these societies provide 
financial aid to needy members in this country and their kin in 
Europe. Formed in 1900 to encourage farming by Jews in the 
United States, the Jewish Agricultural Society includes among its 
activities educational and financial aid to farmers, advice and guidance 
on problems of war demands and shortages, and the pubhcation of a 
monthly magazine, the Jewish Farmer. 

The Jewish community center provides both cultural and recrea- 
tional facilities. At the end of 1943 there were 293 Community 
Centers with a membership of 390,000, afiiliated with the National 
Jewish Welfare Board. The most comprehensive type of center 
is the YMHA, which carries on religious, cultural, educational, and 
social functions in the service of Jewish youth throughout the coun- 
try. The servicing agency for Jewish centers, the National Jewish 
Welfare Board, assists local centers by conducting surveys, preparing 
programs, training workers, and serving as a clearing house for all 
center activities. Organized in 1917 to meet the needs of soldiers 
in World War I, it fulfilled the same rehgious, cultural, and social 
functions during World War II. 

Welfare. The welfare activities in which Jewish communities 
engage are as numerous as are the problems presented by a diversified 
Jewish population. The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid 
Society (HIAS) was founded in 1885 to help Jewish immigrants in 
the initial steps of adjusting themselves to American life. The adjust- 
ment of the children of immigrants was also facilitated by settlement 
houses. Hospitals, maintained under Jewish auspices but admitting 
patients on a nonsectarian basis, numbered sixty-one in the year 1940. 
Most of these are locally supported. Some, such as the National 
Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado, serve a national public and are 
nationally supported. 

Many local organizations support charitable institutions; others, 
such as the Jewish Board of Guardians, deal with problems of malad- 
justment and delinquency. It should be noted here that recent studies 
reveal that the rate of delinquency and criminality among Jews is 
relatively low. The wholesome influence of the Jewish home and 
the effectiveness of Jewish welfare agencies reduce the incidence of 
social pathology. 

The organization that coordinates the activities of the Jewish wel- 
fare groups is the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, 
established in 1932. The Council, which has 222 member agencies 
in 186 cities, deals with the problems involved in organizing Jewish 


community resources to serve Jewish group needs locally, regionally, 
and nationally. 

The agency which channelizes American Jewish rehef efforts in 
various countries is the American Jewish Joint Distrihution Com- 
mittee. The JDC, organized in 1914 to meet the exigencies of 
World War I, has vastly expanded its activities to deal with problems 
raised by the catastrophic events in Europe in recent years. 

Protection of rights. Several organizations in the United States 
concern themselves chiefly with the safeguarding of the civil and 
political rights of Jews here and abroad. These are the American 
Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defama- 
tion League of the B’nai B’rith, and the Jewish Labor Committee. 
They represent a cross section of American life and speak for Jews 
of various political, social, and economic groups. The American 
Jewish Committee, oldest of the organizations, was founded in 1906 
“to safeguard the civil and religious rights of Jews and to alleviate 
the consequences of persecution or disaster affecting them at home 
and abroad.” Previous to and during World War II Jewish defense 
agencies centered their attention upon combating Nazi propaganda 
which aimed to spread disunity among the American people and 
which used anti-Semitism as a tool in an effort to break down the 
American traditions of religious freedom and equahty of opportu- 

Education. There are about 850,000 Jewish children of school age 
in the United States. Practically all of them receive the regular 
educational training offered by the public schools of this country, 
and it has been estimated that about 75 per cent of them will have 
also attended some kind of Jewish school between the ages of seven 
and thirteen. Since World War I, the character of Jewish educa- 
tion has undergone significant changes. American-bom teachers, 
trained in institutions of higher Jewish learning, employ modem 
educational methods to instruct their pupils in the Hebrew language, 
Jewish literature, and history; and textbooks and curricula have been 
adapted to American educational standards. 

The instimtions of higher learning where young men study for 
the rabbinate and where men and women prepare for the teaching 
profession have developed curricula that include, in addition to bibhcal 
and talmudic learning, such other branches of culture as philosophy, 
sociology, education, rhetoric, history, literature, music, and art. Sev- 
eral of these schools offer teacher-training programs as well as general 
adult courses. Advanced students may take doctorates in Jewish or 


Oriental studies at the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate 
Learning in Philadelphia. 

Fublications. There are some 150 American Jewish periodicals 
which serve a threefold function: the dissemination of information, 
the fostering of a contemporary Jewish literature, and the binding 
together of scattered Jewish communities. There are several news 
S5rndicates which supply news of particular Jewish interest and special 
feature articles to both the Jewish and the general press. Most promi- 
nent of these syndicates is the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Topics 
of interest to students of Jewish life are found in such pubhcations as 
Menorah Journal, Contemporary Jenvish Record, Jewish Social Serv- 
ice Quarterly, Reconstructionist, Jewish Frontier, New Palestine, 
Liberal Judaism, Jewish Education, and Jewish Social Studies. 

Systematic presentations of information regarding American Jewish 
life can be found in the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Universal Jewish 
Encyclopedia, the American Jewish Year Book, an almanac of Jewish 
information, the publications of the American Jewish Historical 
Society, the numerous volumes published by the Jewish Publication 
Society, and Popular Studies in Judaism, published by the Tract Com- 
mission of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the 
Central Conference of American Rabbis. 

Cultural Contributions 

The many strains that converge to form the pattern of American 
cultural life show a variety of contributions made by Jews. In the 
fields of natural science and social science the diverse interests and 
propensities of American Jews are made particularly evident. Among 
philosophers there are Morris R. Cohen, Horace M. Kallen, Irwin 
Edman, and Sidney Hook; anthropologists include Franz Boas and 
Edward Sapir; educators include Isaac L. Kandel, Paul Klapper, and 
FeHx Adler; physicians, A. A. Brill, Simon Flexner, Jacques Loeb, 
Morris Fishbein, A. A. Berg, and Joseph Goldberger; physicists, A. A. 
Michelson and Albert Einstein; sociologists, Louis Wirth and Samuel 
Joseph; psychologists, Joseph Jastrow and Otto Klineberg; statisti- 
cians, Phihp M. Hauser and Mordecai Ezekiel. 

Prominent in the legal profession were such men as Louis Marshall 
and Samuel Untermeyer, while Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin A. Car- 
dozo, and FeUx Frankfurter all became justices of the Supreme Court 
of the United States. Other prominent judges include Irving Leh- 
man, Joseph M. Proskauer, and Samuel I. Rosemnan. 

The Jewish contribution to American journalism has been im- 


portant, ranging from publishing and editing to feature writing and 
reporting. Most prominent of the publishers are Joseph Pulitzer, 
founder of the New York World and Evening World, and of the 
Pulitzer Prizes; Adolph Ochs, who built up The New York Times 
and Arthur Hays Sulzberger, its present publisher; Dorothy Schiff 
Thackerey, owner and publisher of the New York Post; Paul Block, 
owner of a chain of newspapers; and J. David Stern, publisher of the 
Philadelphia Record.^ Among newspaper editorialists and colum- 
nists, the following Jewish names are outstanding: Walter Lippmann, 
Simeon Strunsky, Samuel Grafton, Weaker Winchell, Max Lemer, 
Arthur Krock, and Benjamin de Casseres. Among book publishers, 
Jews are represented by such weU-known names as Alfred A. Knopf, 
Bennet A. Cerf, Richard L. Simon, M. Lincoln Schuster, and Harry 

In the field of radio, Jewish contributions have been many. Two 
of the great networks, Columbia and NBC, are headed by Jews. 
Many radio personahties in all types of programs and in all phases of 
radio work are Jews. Only a few outstanding names can be listed 
here: Norman Corwin, script writer and play director; Caesar 
Searchinger and Gabriel Heatter, news commentator; Eddie Cantor 
and Jack Benny, comedians; Andre Kostelanetz, conductor. 

Jewish producers, such as David Belasco, Daniel Frohman, Michael 
Todd, and Lee Schubert, have been prominent in the theater. Other 
than the production aspects of the show business have also had a great 
attraction for Jews. They have distinguished themselves as play- 
wrights, actors, directors, and scene designers. A few names among 
many are Herman Shumlin and Elia Kazan, directors; Morris Car- 
novsky and Alla Nazimova, actors; Aline Bernstein, scene designer; 
S. N. Behrman, Lillian Heilman, Moss Hart, and George S. Kaufman, 
playwrights; Oscar Hammerstem II, lyricist; and Kurt WeiU, com- 

In the motion pictures, Jews figure not only as producers but also 
as directors, actors, writers, and musical and technical supervisors. 
The following names are merely examples: Samuel Goldwyn and 
David O. Selznick, producers; Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson, 
actors; Garson Kanin, director; and Erich Korngold, composer and 

In music, art, and literature the contributions of Jews are equally 

2 The three largest American newspaper chains (Hearst, Patterson-McCormack, 
and Scripps-Howard), are entirely non-Jewish in ownership. 


distinguished and equally varied. Ernst Bloch, Leonard Bernstein, 
George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin represent four schools of musical 
composition. Among virtuosos and concert figures are Mischa 
Elman, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Rudolf Serkin, Artur 
Schnabel, Alexander Klipnis, Jan Peerce, Bruno Walter, and Serge 

American writers of national prominence who concern themselves 
primarily with Jewish subjects include Ludwig Lewisohn, Maurice 
Samuel, and Marvin Lowenthal. Among well-known American 
poets, playwrights, and novelists are a number of Jews including the 
following names; Kenneth Fearing, Dorothy Parker, Babette Deutsch, 
Louis Untermeyer, Elmer Rice, Clilford Odets, Sidney Kingsley, 
Waldo Frank, Edna Ferber, Fanny Hurst, Ben Hecht, and Robert 

Jewish artists, sculptors, and architects have pursued their own 
individual paths of development and do not in any respect constitute 
a special type or school, as the following names show: Moses Soyer, 
Raphael Soyer, Leon Kroll, and Saul Raskin, artists; Jo Davidson, 
Maurice Sterne, Chaim Gross, and William Zorach, sculptors; and 
Albert Kahn, architect. 

Two names that have made an indelible mark on American social 
history are Samuel Gompers, labor leader, and Lillian D. Wald, social 
worker and founder of the Henry Street Settlement. In the field of 
philanthropy, outstanding family names include Rosenwald, Straus, 
Guggenheim, Schiff, Lewisohn, Warburg, and Littauer. 

In sports, examples of Jewish participation are Benny Leonard 
and Barney Ross of the boxing world; Hank Greenberg of baseball 
fame; Sid Luckman, football star; and Nat Holman, basketball coach. 

Jewish Americans are also represented in the field of public serv- 
ice. Many were pressed into special duties during World War 
II in connection with war and postwar activities. Bernard M. 
Baruch, economic adviser to the nation during World War I, was 
appointed by President Roosevelt to draw up plans for reconverting 
the indusprial war machine to a peace economy. Herbert H. Lehman, 
for five terms governor of New York, is director general of the 
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Isador 
Lubin, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was given 
special leave to conduct war work overseas. 

Other Jews in important posts in public service include Henry 
Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury; Nathan Straus, Adminis- 
trator of the United States Housing Authority; Lawrence A. Stein- 


hardt, ambassador to Turkey; and Henry Homer, governor of Illi- 
nois, and Julius L. Meier, governor of Oregon. 

Jewish patriots and war heroes of an earher historical period were 
Asser Levy, Haym Salomon, Judah Touro, and Uriah P. Levy. In 
World War I the Jews, who constituted 3.27 per cent of the total 
population, made up 5.73 per cent of the total enrollment in the armed 
forces. Jewish soldiers were to be found in aU branches of the army 
and ranged in rank from private to general. Three received Congres- 
sional Medals of Honor, 147 received Distinguished Service Medals 
and Crosses, and 982 received other decorations and citations. 

World War II again found the Jews playing their part in all 
branches of the service. No adequate statistics were available in 1944, 
but an indication of the size of the Jewish contribution to the war 
effort can be gleaned from the surveys conducted by the Bureau of 
War Records of the Jewish Welfare Board. The Bureau made a 
study of three medium-sized cities on the eastern seaboard where 
Jews constitute 5.6 per cent of the total population and found that 
7 per cent of the total number of those recruited for the armed forces 
from these communities were Jewish. 

Another study, made of Jewish inductees at Pittsburgh, Pennsyl- 
vania, showed the wide distribution of Jews in the army. Of 2,895 
Jews inducted, 25.2 per cent were in the Air Forces, 9.5 per cent in 
the Medical Corps, 9.4 per cent in the Infantry, 7.4 per cent in the 
Field Artillery, 7.3 per cent in the Quartermaster Corps, 5.5 per cent 
in the Coast Artillery, 5.4 per cent in the Engineers, 4.8 per cent in 
the Signal Corps, 3.3 per cent in the Armored Forces, 0.7 per cent 
in noncombatant services such as Army Administration, and 1.2 per 
cent were in Army Finance. The remaining 20.3 per cent were 
distributed among the Cavalry, Chaplain’s Corps, Chemical War- 
fare, Military Police, and Paratroopers. 

The lists of citations and awards are still incomplete, but Jews have 
already earned a fair share. The names mentioned form but a token 
representation of many more. Sergeant Meyer Levin received the 
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Slver Star, two Oak Leaf Clusters, 
and a Purple Heart ia recognition of his heroic exploits. He released 
the bombs from the plane piloted by Captain Colin Kelly, which 
struck the Japanese battleship, Haruna, off the Philippines; sank 
an enemy cargo ship in the Coral Sea; took part in more than sixty 
combat missions; and died in the attempt to save his crewmates 
when a Flying Fortress crashed during a reconnaissance flight in 
^ §tonn pff New Guinea, Lieutenant Alexander Gpode was on9 



of four chaplains (two of the others were Protestant and one was 
Catholic) who gave their lifebelts to enlisted men on a torpedoed 
American cargo transport which sank in the North Atlantic. He was 
reported missing in action. Sergeant Barney Ross of the Marine 
Corps was awarded the Silver Star for killing twenty-two Japanese 
soldiers while guarding three wounded comrades during a single night 
of fierce fighting on Guadalcanal. He was wounded and contracted 
malaria during his months of action in the Guadalcanal jungles. 


The blending of the American Jew with his environment has been 
a sustained process from 1654 to the present time. Arriving from 
many different countries, bearing a time-honored religious tradition, 
and settling in all parts of the United States, the Jews have participated 
energetically in all phases of American life. They have played parts 
in the many and varied spheres of interest to which they were at- 
tracted as individuals and have contributed to American industrial 
enterprise, to science and art, and to progressive thinking. 

Yet, marked as their contribution has been in the arts and sciences 
and in the fields of business and public affairs, the Jews as a group 
by no means form an exceptional or unique segment of the American 
population. In their majority, they are perhaps neither more nor 
less distinguished than are other groups of citizens of the United 
States. Their calHngs are as diverse as those of their feUow Amer- 
icans. There are rich Jews, just as there are rich non-Jews. And 
there are just as many poor Jews, relatively, as there are poor non- 
Jews. Far from being a homogeneous group, the American Jews 
are an aggregate of individuals among whom one can find conserv- 
atives as well as progressives. Republicans as well as Democrats, em- 
ployers as well as employees, shopkeepers as well as factory workers. 
In their opinions, attitudes, and political leanings they differ as much 
among themselves as do Americans in general. American Jews fur- 
nish as typical a cross-section of urban American life as one could find, 
exemplifying by their lives the integration of the cultural, social, and 
economic values of Jewish life with the American scene. 


Asiatic Immigration 


Habib I. Katibah 

W ITH thousands of our armed forces in S^ria and neighboring 
Arabic-speaking countries, with the question of Saudi Arabia 
petroleum aired in our newspapers, with our tacit recognition of the 
independence of Syria and Lebanon, Syria and the Syrians should 
not be so little known after World War II as they were before. 

It is a strange phenomenon, and hard to explain, that the Syrians, 
one of the most ubiquitous of peoples, have been among the least 
known. As late as 1924, when thousands of Syrians had settled 
permanently in the United States, Professor P. K. Hitd could yet say 
that “a perusal of practically everything that has been written about 
them convinces me that of all the many races that go to make up our 
polyglot people, the Syrians are among the most imperfectly under- 
stood.” ® Something in their aloof nature, their reticence, and their 
almost ascetic indifference to what others say about them, sets them 
aside as a pilgrim people, and adds to both their mystery and their 

Syrians of the United States are descendants of the same adven- 
turous people whose caravans crossed the Syrian Desert from Byblos 
or Damascus to Sumer and Akkad and back, hundreds of years before 
the Tel Amama letters spoke apprehensively of the Khebiri (He- 
brews?) crossing the Jordan River from the wilderness. Syria has 

^The author does not dwell in diis revised chai)ter as much on the history of 
Syrian imm^ration to America as he did in the original one. Excellent materials on 
this subject are to be found in Louise Se3ntnour Houghten’s articles in Survey, July, 
1911, and in other sources cited in the bibliographical section of this book. Instead 
he presents largely an overview of Syrian Americans today based on his general 
knowledge and on first-hand information gained on an extended tour made in 1940, 
in which he visited areas of Syrian concentration in mote than a hundred communi- 
ties distributed throughout some thirty states. His findings were published in a series 
of articles in Mereat ul-Gharb, an Arabic language newspaper of New York. 

2 P. K. Him, Syrians in America, p. 97. 



been called “the school of the Semitic race.” It is equally true that 
Syria was one of the first schools of the whole human race. Barring 
their Semitic neighbors, the Egyptians, of whom perhaps less than a 
hundred are represented in this country, there is no racial minority 
among us that can fall back on so ancient a history, a history so 
checkered and so eventful both to themselves and to the whole world. 


Syrian immigration to the United States, as we look back upon it 
today, falls roughly into three periods or stages. The first, or 
-peddling, stage runs down from thq latter part of the nineteenth cen- 
tury to a decade or more before World War I. This, in a sense, is 
the most romantic and colorful period, the period of discovery, ad- 
venture, and colonization. Washington Street in New York was 
then the cradle from which practically all Syrian colonies in the 
United States moved out, each gravitating to the locality where a 
townsman or relative had settled and made good. 

The second period of Syrian immigration to the United States 
extends roughly from the opening of the twentieth century to the 
close of World War I. It was the period of orientation. In this 
period Syrians established businesses more or less on modem lines, 
began to depend less and less on peddlers’ trade and more on depart- 
ment stores, or opened little stores of their own. In New York the 
embroidered linen, lace, negligee, and lingerie industry flourished 
among the Syrians. In the Middle West and the South, Syrians took 
to the grocery business, wholesale and retail fruit-seUing, restaurants, 
and allied lines, as well as dry goods and peddlers’ notions. 

Coming down to within a decade, and into the present, we reach the 
third period of Syrian immigration life, which emerges imperceptibly 
from the second. By this time it may be said that Syrians of the 
United States had given up their “nomadic” life. This period we 
may appropriately call the period of diversification, for in it we see 
Syrians entering completely into the American heritage, branching 
out into all the economic and social activities of the country, being 
represented in practically every industry and profession open to all 
Americans, and becoming American citizens. 

Because of the classification of immigrants, pointed out in coimec- 
tion with many other national minority groups, it is not easy to 
estimate the number of Syrians in the United States. The latest 
federal census (1940) gives the urban population of the Syrians 
(which includes the Palestinians and the Lebanese) as 136,849. Of 



these, 52,569 are classed as foreign bom and 84,280 as native bom 
of foreign or mixed parentage. Adding to these numbers 3,419 who 
are classed as mral farm population, and 11,138 rural nonfarm popu- 
lation, gives us a total of 151,406. This is about 50,000 less than the 
estimate given by Professor Hitti in his book quoted above, and 
100,000 less than the estimate given by Professor W. 1 . Cole, in his 
brochure on the Syrians for the Massachusetts Department of Edu- 
cation. Some Syrian authorities put the figure for the total number 
of Syrians in the United States as high as 500,000. From 1899 to 
1915 an average of 5,000 Syrians a year entered this country, the 
peak years being 1913 and 1914, with 9,210 and 9,033 entrants 

Equally vague are the estimates for the various Syrian colonies. 
Professor Cole gives the figure for New York, the largest Syrian 
colony in the United States, as between 18,000 and 20,000. While 
this figure is perhaps a little too low, I believe it is nearer the trath 
than the popularity given one of 35,000 to 40,000. The Detroit 
colony, next to New York in number, is probably 15,000. Among 
other large Syrian colonies, figures for wNch need not be given as 
they are mostly conjecmral, we may mention those of Boston, 
Lawrence, Fall River, Worcester, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Toledo, 
Jacksonville, Beaumont, Houston, and Los Angeles. It is safe to say 
there is no city in America with a population of 100,000 or more 
that does not have a nucleus, however small, of Syrian popula- 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

From the point of view of integration and a feeling of belonging, 
which are the true measures of Americanization and not assimilation 
in the narrow “melting-pot” sense of the word, Syrians in the United 
States have passed gradually, and often imperceptibly, through stages 
that are represented today in definite types. As these types do not 
differ materially from similar types in other minority groups in 
America, we need not dwell long upon them. There is the clannish 
type, impervious to forces and factors of integration; there is the 
cosmopohtan type, too easily, and often superficially, integrated; 
and there is the more enlightened nationalistic type. This last type, 
intensely conscious of its ancient heritage and of the problems of 
adaptation to American life, should be of particular interest to students 
of sociology. To the mind of this writer, individuals from this group 
or type, as will be shown later in this chapter, have made the most 



distinct contribution to our enlarged concept of American life and 
destiny, to America of the future. 

Highly individualistic, and endowed with a long tradition of adapta- 
tion to the vicissitudes of wars and migration, the Syrians have proved 
a wholesome minority in the Uxiited States. This individualism, 
however, and this felicity of adaptation, were not incompatible with 
a strong sentiment of attachment to the homeland. 

Organizations. There are proportionately more societies and clubs 
among Syrians in America than, perhaps, among any other minority 
group. None of these, however, can measure in effectiveness and 
inclusiveness of membership the Greek Ahepa or the Armenian 
General Benevolent Union. 

The Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern Federations of Syrian and 
Lebanese Societies are a belated attempt “to get the Syrians together.” 
Anomalously enough, the preponderate membership in these federa- 
tions is drawn from the second generation. A promising sign of new 
orientation are such projects as the Tal-Shihah Hospital for Zahle, 
sponsored by fellow townsmen in this country and launched a few 
years before the outbreak of *the second World War; the Hitti 
Scholarship Fund; the Dr. Rizk G. Haddad Memorial Foundation; 
and the Ramallah Hospital Foundation, the last two having been 
started after the outbreak of war. More than a quarter of a century 
ago the Syrian Educational Society successfully carried out educa- 
tional work and provided scholarships for a score or more of Syrian 
students, some of whom have attained positions of responsibility. 
This society is at present dormant, and has been so for many years. 

Occupations. It is as an individual that the Syrian has shone in 
the United States — as anjw^here else — as a good, law-abiding citizen, 
a kindly and hospitable neighbor, a considerate friend, a proud and 
independent middle-class man, grocer, restaurant keeper, linen-goods 
merchant, or women’s-wear manufacturer. Only in a few instances 
has success attained what we might call national stature. It is claimed 
that the biggest pants manufacturer in the United States and in 
the world is Maroun Haj jar of Dallas, Texas, who came to this country 
from a little village in southern Lebanon, His three plants in Dallas 
employ 2,600 workers and consume some twenty-five million yards 
of goods. The efficiency and modernity of his plant, built of brick, 
steel, and blue glass, is impressive, and the care that this Syrian em- 
ployer takes of his employees is excellent. In Los Angeles one of the 
biggest firms for the manufacture of popular-priced women’s house 
dresses is Mode O ’Day, of Malouf Brothers. Their factory is housed 



in a fourteen-story building in the downtown section of the city. 
Before the war, 350 stores carried their name and sold their dresses 
exclusively on an ingenious plan. Since then the number of their 
stores has been increased. Charles Andrews and his brothers were 
among the foremost fruit and vegetable shippers and commission 
merchants in the country. In the modern development of the grocery 
business the Syrians have also had a share. In some cities, as in Utica, 
New York, Charleston, West Virginia, and formerly in Detroit, they 
seem to dominate the business. A Syrian in Detroit publishes a trade 
magazine for the grocers of Michigan and neighboring states. Mike 
(Mahmoud) Hamadi of Detroit owns some of the finest super-markets 
in the country. 

These are just random examples of what might be termed success 
by Syrians of the first generation. The industries and professions 
these Syrians have gone into are varied, ranging from department 
stores and beauty parlor and barber supphes companies to manufac- 
ture of dental plates, wild catting (digging petroleum oils on pros- 
pection), and running a wholesale Indian jewelry factory. 

Contributions to American Life 

As stated above, it is from the more enhghtened nationalistic type 
of Syrian that guidance in a more positive and richer readjustment 
of our heterogeneous cultures and civilizations is expected. To it 
belong such men as Jibran K. Jibran, Ameen Rihani, Abraham 
Mitrie Rihbani, Professor Hitti, Dr. F. I. Shatara, and many others 
who have sought to interpret the spirit of their ancient culture and 
civihzation to their contemporaries and thus to bring them closer to an 
understanding of their fellow Americans. They did more than that; 
they were also interpreters and messengers of the traditional Ameri- 
can way of life to their compatriots abroad. In this respect, their 
influence was second only to that of American educators and Ameri- 
can institutions of higher learning in Arab lands, notably the American 
University of Beirut. Both Jibran and Rihani wrote some of their 
best works in Arabic. Others followed in their footsteps, and their 
names are as familiar in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt as in the 
United States. Mischa Neimy, Elia Madey, Naseeb Arida, the Haddad 
brothers, William Catsiflis, N. Mokarzel, N. Diab, Badran, Baddour, 
Milkie, and others exercized considerable influence through the Arabic 
press of New York, and through works published abroad in Arabic, 
on the hterary trends, political thinking, and forward-looking Hberal 
movements throughout the Arab world, and in particular Syria and 



Lebanon. The independence nationalist movements in Syria and 
Lebanon are considerably indebted to the activities and writings of 
Syrian nationahsts in America. 

A number of second-generation Syrians have also made their mark 
in their various communities and in varied callings. Among these 
are: a geologist of Houston, Texas, M. Halbouty; a federal district 
attorney for western Michigan, Joseph Deeb; a labor leader, George 
Addes of Detroit, secretary-treasurer of the United Automobile 
Workers Union of the CIO; a cartoonist on the Louisville Courier 
Journal, George Joseph; an authority on the psychology of back- 
ward children. Dr. S. Kirk of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Both the first and second generations of Syrians are represented 
by a handful of doctors who have attained prominence. Among 
them are: the late Dr. F. I. Shatara, Arab nationalist leader and lec- 
turer on surgery at the Long Island College Hospital and Post Gradu- 
ate Hospital of New York; Dr. George Haik of New Orleans, who 
successfully performed several operations of grafting the retina; Dr. 
Michael DeBakey (Dabaghi), of the same city, an authority on blood 
banking and professor of surgery at Tulane University. Dr. George 
Kenysi of Cornell University is a noted bacteriologist; Dr. S. David, 
of Houston, Texas, and T. Nicola of New York are noted bone 
surgeons, as is also Captain Camille Shaar of the Philadelphia Naval 
Hospital. One Syrian, Professor P. K. Hitti, is a world authority on 
the ^tory of the Arabs, and another. Professor M. Malti, of Cornell 
University, is a distinguished scientist. 

One Syrian American who has attained more than national fame 
and made a distinct contribution to American progress is Dr. Michael 
Shadid, of EUc City, Oklahoma, founder and head of the first co- 
operative hospital in the United States. The struggles, hardships, 
and triumphs of this intrepid, wiry little man from Judaidat Marj 
Uyoun are told in a charming autobiography and also in more than 
one of our popular magazines. It is significant that this first-genera- 
tion doctor, who had been influenced by a foretaste of higher educa- 
tion at the American University of Beirut, and who was destined 
to lay one of the cornerstones of socialized medicine in the United 
States, was enabled to do so mainly through the sympathetic response 
and ready assistance of a community of recent immigrants in west- 
ern Oklahoma. 

Among the heroes of World War II we find many Americans of 
Syrian origin. These include one from Oklahoma, a courageous flier 



and a hero of Guadalcanal, after whom a destroyer escort, Naif eh, 
was named. The Syrian Americans can pride themselves on one 
brigadier general, Fred Safi of Jacksonville, Florida, several colonels, 
majors, and commanders, and scores of commissioned and noncom- 
missioned officers. In their contributions to the Red Cross and other 
war activities the Syrian Americans have done their share. Their 
record in the first World War was equally commendable, both on 
the home and fighting fronts. Almost 14,000 of them served in the 
American armed forces during that war, while their number in 
World War II is said to be in excess of 40,000. This is a good ratio 
to the total population of the Syrians in America. 

As a minority group, Syrians in the United States may not be 
able to make a spectacular showing on their own ledger. They have 
some excellent qualities and some objectionable ones; they have in- 
tegrated themselves slowly but surely, counting among themselves 
very few radicals or reactionaries, but walking mostly the middle road 
of life. They thrive best when they leave their “colony” and live 
in medium-sized towns. They are “lost” both in the big cities and 
in rural districts. But for good or bad, and mostly good, their con- 
tributions and achievements have been as individuals, often as Ameri- 
cans not as Syrians, 

The mission of Syrians in the United States, as the mission of other 
minority groups, is stiU the dual one of interpreting America abroad, 
and interpreting their own culture to Americans and to the world 
as a whole. In the case of the Syrians, this opportunity is great. It 
extends, in so far as the land of their origin is concerned, far beyond 
little Syria and Lebanon, into the umbra of the whole Arab world, 
surpassing in total area that of the United States and with almost half 
the population. Beyond this umbra lies the penumbra of the Moslem 
world. Now that America is entering a new stage of world con- 
sciousness, the role of the Syrians in America, as that of the Greeks, 
Czechs, Russians, Italians, and others, gams new significance. The 
need is more and more for those whose traditions, training, and en- 
vironments have fitted them to become messengers of good wiU 
between the new world and the old world. There is equally strong 
need for Syrians bom in the United States, who are thoroughly 
equipped with technical knowledge and the “know how” of man- 
agement and industry, to be willing to go to the land of their origin 
to lend of their knowledge and experience in the progress and de- 
mocratization of that part of the world. 



Francis J. Brown 

The history of the Ottoman Empire reaches back across the cen- 
turies. Conquering armies have waged intermittent warfare across 
its fertile valleys and arid plateaus. The Dardanelles, the gateway to 
the oil-fields and limitless granary of middle Asia and long the only 
accessible gateway to Mittel Europa, has been the coveted prize of 
conquerors from Alexander to Hitler. The borders of Turkey have 
expanded and contracted with the varying vicissitudes of war. 

Yet in spite of this long history, or perhaps, in a sense, because of 
it, it is more difficult to segregate Turkish Americans than almost 
any other minority group. If the facts as given by immigration and 
census figures could be taken at face value, the task would be much 
easier. Immigration data show that twenty-one persons arrived from 
Turkey in Europe during the first decade that records were kept, 
1820 to 1830. Atotal of 278 came between 1831 and 1870, and 5,525 
during the next thirty years; but 79,976 arrived from 1901 to 1910, 
54,677 from 1911 to 1920; 14,659 during the next decade, and only 
810 during the thirteen years from 1931 to 1944, a total of 155,950. 

For Turkey in Asia, no figures were kept until 1869, and in that 
year only two arrivals are reported. From 1870 to the present the 
numbers are: 1871 to 1880, 67; 1881 to 1890, 2,220; 1891 to 1900, 
26,799; 1910? 77 » 393 ; 1911 192O5 7953^9; 1921 to 1930, 

19,165; 1931 to 1943, 375. The total of arrivals is 205,410, of whom 
three fourths came to the United States during the two decades 1901 
to 1920. These figures closely parallel the course of imnoigration of 
those coming from Turkey in Europe. Combining these two sets of 
figures shows that the total immigration from Turkey by June 30, 
1943, was 361,360, a number exceeded only by fifteen of the forty 
countries separately reported in census tables. 

In sharp contrast to these figures are those of the Census Bureau. 
In 1940, only 8,372 gave Turkey in Europe as their country of origin, 
of whom more than half, or 4,412, were foreign born. (The average 
for all foreign white stock is 3 3 per cent.) Turkey in Asia was given 
as country of origin by 95,829, of whom also more than half were 
foreign bom, or 52,479. 

There is significance in the fact that those who gave Turkey in 
Europe as country of origin constitute only 6 per cent of immigration, 
while those who gave Turkey in Asia as country of origin constitute 
46 per cent. The reason is twofold: the changes in the area included 



in Turkey, especially by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923; and the 
mixed population of the homeland, including large numbers of Jews, 
Greeks, and Armenians. 

The number in either the immigration or the census figures who 
are of Turkish origin is impossible to determine. Unlike the case of 
other national minority groups, there is a tendency to considej; the 
official figures many times too large rather than too small. A lead- 
ing authority on Turkish Americans states this position in a letter 
from which the following is quoted: 

Most of the facts and statistics are not obtainable. Few Turks have 
come to this country, and those that have immigrated, have been prac- 
tically entirely from the lower classes. People have come from Turkey 
and met with success here, but they have been either Jews, Greeks or 
Armenians by birth. The tobacco magnate, a man by the name of Shinasi, 
who died a few years ago, is an example. The reason for this in all prob- 
ability is due to the fact that the Turks have never been a migratory race. 
The members of the better families have always remained in Turkey. . . . 
Our Turkish population, so far as I have been able to find out, consists 
only of a few hundred working men in mills in New England and in the 
various factories in and around Detroit. 

It is probable that the writer of the letter made an understatement, 
but of the 30,000 in New York City who, according to the 1940 
census figure, gave Turkey as their country of origin, not more than 
a few hundred are Turks except in the pohtical sense. Ethnologically 
they are Armenians, Jews, and Greeks. There are, however, small 
settlements of Turks, often only a few families, in a number of our 
larger cities, but even “Turkish” restaurants are sometimes operated 
by other than Turks. 

As has been stated, the Turks who have emigrated to the United 
States are almost without exception from the laboring class. They 
sense little internal unity among themselves and have not developed 
organizations or pubhcations comparable to those of other national 
groups. Their contribution has been largely that of unskilled labor 
in industrialized cities. 


Rouben Gavoor 

The more we fathom their distant past, the more we begin to 

realize the constructive and enlightening role played by the 

Armenians in the world history of civilization. 

—Professor Lehmann-Haupt 
(Armema: Past and Present) 



Cicero wrote, “Tigranes the Great ^ [94-56 b.c] made the Republic 
of Rome tremble before his power.’’ Such was the glorious history 
of the Armenian people. In their long history, they have shown 
qualities and characteristics that are only possessed by great nations 
in history — tenacity, courage, valor, self-reliance, capacity to work, 
lovefof freedom, a great faculty for adaptation — ^yet they have clung 
to and cherished old manners and customs for the sake of preserving 
them. Sturdiness of character is the motivating force that has enabled 
them to withstand the gigantic forces and continuous conflicts on their 
own soil of two opposing and diversifying cultural contenders — the 
East and the West. The Armenians, because of these qualities, have 
kept their identity, while their early contemporaries have vanished 
from the face of the earth. As one meticulous Armenian American 
scholar " expressed it: “The Armenians have been for centuries a small, 
subject and suppressed, though most fortunately not a submerged 

This same point of view was expressed by Lieutenant Colonel 
Harry A. Sachaklian ® while he was with the United States Army Air 
Corps in North Africa. His words express the sentiments of an 
estimated 10,000 American Armenians, ranking from brigadier general 
to private, who served their country in war and of whom a large 
number volunteered long before they would otherwise have been 
inducted. Lieutenant Colonel Sachaklian states: 

In summing up my belongings, I find I possess two things that mark me 
as rich as any man in all creation. These two things are my American 
nativity and consequent citizenship and my Armenian ancestry and 

The value of the first of these two possessions has often been eloquently 
gaged by masters of the art of expressing values. It makes me belong to 
a group of people who by every instinct are free and straight-thinking. 
It lists me among those fortunates who believe that a man is a man for 
being a man and not through some accident of birth or inheritance. It 
numbers me among those men who believe that no man can be free until 
all men are free. 

The value of the second is directly proportional to the value of the 
first. In fact, its value increases as the full realization of the first becomes 
clear. For, my second possession, my Armenian heritage, enables me to 
fully appreciate my American citizenship. Having learned the tragic yet 
noble hLtory of the Armenian people in its indefatigable struggle to at- 

1 Tigranes the Great was the ablest of kings. He was called ‘‘the King of Kings.” 
Under his reign the Armenian boundary extended far and wide and the country 
flourished culturally, economically, and educationally. 

2 Dr. Arshag O. Sarkissian, in his short essay, “Why Nationalism?” 

s Taken from his congratulatory message, “My Two Priceless Possessions," on the 
occasion of HairreTuk Weekly’s tenth anniversary. 



tain a dignified objective, I find to mj astonishment that I possess the 
sort of freedom my own ancestors have fought for and died for in their 
courageous struggle to obtain. 

Prior to World War I, Armenia was divided among Turkey, Persia, 
and Russia. At present, a small part of Armenia is organized as the 
Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia, a member republic of the Soviet 
Union. After centuries of subjugation, Armenia gained her inde- 
pendence in 1918 under the leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary 
Federation (A.R.F., Dashnaktzootune, or the Dashnags, as commonly 
referred to). The republican government, established at Erivan in 
1918, and duly recognized by the Allies in January, 1920, was over- 
thrown by a Bolshevik revolution following the Turkish-Armenian 
War of 1920, in which Bolshevik Russia helped the Turks. In the 
early days of December, 1920, a Bolshevik government was organized 
at Erivan and Armenia became part of Soviet Russia as one of the 
republics of the Soviet Union, against the wishes and incessant oppo- 
sition of the overwhelming majority of the Armenians. 

Today, Armenians throughout the world number approximately 
3,000,000, having suffered a decline in population from 5,000,000 as 
a result of World War I and its aftermath.^ The great majority are 
in Soviet Armenia and other parts of Russia. The rest are scattered 
over all the world. A sizable portion of them are in the United States. 
The United States census of 1940 gives in round figures 52,000, 
classified according to language. However, the Armenian authorities 
claim that there are about 150,000 Armenians in the United States, 
including the children who are bom in this country. Proportionally, 
the state of California has the largest number of ALrmenians — centered 
around Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Their geographic 
distribution throughout the United States is indicated by the eleven 
cities having the largest number of Armenians: Fresno, New York 
City, Detroit, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Union City (New 
Jersey), Los Angeles, Watertown and Worcester (Massachusetts), 
and Chicago. 


According to the writer’s investigation, two Armenian immigrants 
were brought to this country in the year 1655 by Edward Diggs,® 
governor of Virginia, for the purpose of nurturing the silk worm, and 
eventually to make silk culture a leading industry. Climatic condi- 

^The numbers cited for population are approximations. There are no exact 
statistics. . 

® Refer to the Begtfmers of Nation, See also, Phillip Alexander Bruce’s Economic 
History of Vhrghm in the ijth Century^ pp. 365-368. 



tions, however, were not favorable. Before the Civil War, there were 
occasional Armenian visitors into the United States, mostly students 
and merchants, who had met missionaries in the Near East. In 1834, 
K. Vosganian, a young student, came here to study under the super- 
vision of the missionaries. After studying sis years, he returned to 
Constantinople, and in 1854 he again migrated to America. While 
on board ship, en route to America, he met James Gordon Bennett, 
publisher of the Nenv York Herald, who became fascinated by 
Vosganian’s knowledge of world affairs and languages. Vosganian 
became a successful columnist for the iVew York Herald, and his 
popularity reached such heights that he succeeded to the presidency 
of the Press Club. Bennett also offered him 30,000 acres of land 
in the Ohio Territory to establish an Armenian colony, but, a typically 
carefree and sensitive product of the journalism of that period, Vos- 
ganian shunned the offer because of the great responsibilities and 
risks involved. Three years later (1837), S. Der Minasian came 
from Constantinople, entered Princeton, and was the first Armenian 
physician in this country. 

Other students followed the footsteps of Vosganian and Minasian, 
and were equally as prominent in their chosen fields; but for lack of 
space it is impossible to include them here. Suffice it to say that 
immigration to the United States was stimulated in 1895, and that in 
that year the total number of Armenians in this country was 2,767. 
By 1910, their number rose to 25,824. These people came to this 
country mostly for politico-economic reasons. They were being 
persecuted at the hands of Russians and Turks who confiscated the 
fruits of their labor by heavy taxation. In despair, they abandoned 
their fertile fields to find new opportunities. Most of the early immi- 
grants were of the peasant class, with the exception of students and 
prominent merchants; but those who migrated after the first World 
War were from the cities. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

As in their mother country, -the Armenians in the United States 
have been engaged in the professions, arts, crafts, and large and small 
business enterprises. Large concerns are generally in the Oriental 
rug business and have an international reputation in this particular 
field. In addition to these, there are prosperous farmers in California 
engaged in grape and wine production. 

Religion. No history of Armenia is complete without touching 
upon its religion. The Armenian National (or, as often referred to, 


the Gregorian or Apostolic) Church is the central institution of the 
Armenian people, and through centuries it has played a prominent 
part in their social, spiritual, moral, and educational life. The 
Armenian Apostolic Church originated solely with Armenians, by 
Armenians, and for Armenians, and it is equally controlled by the 
laity and the clergy. Unlike other religious groups, those controlling 
it have not tried to increase their number through rehgious propaganda 
or by carrying on missionary endeavor. The church is to the 
Armenians as the Hving flesh is to bone; they cannot be separated! 
Schisms have arisen among the Armenians, but it is safe to say that the 
National Church will prevail and will continue to be the dominating 
force in their religious activities. 

To Armenians, the National Church is more than a religious insti- 
tution. The church embraces art, architecture, hterature, philosophy, 
and music. One is fascinated by the beauty of its colorful and awe- 
inspiring ceremonies and masses. The rehgious songs are full of 
pathos, depth, charm, and grace. There are at present in the United 
States twenty-five privately owned National churches, supported by 
a professed membership of 60,000, where masses are held. The 
Armenian Protestant churches come next in importance. The exact 
number of their membership is not now known. Armenian Protes- 
tants are either Presbyterians or Congregationahsts. Three churches 
are owned by the Armenian Cathohcs. The ceremonies of these 
Armenian CathoHc churches essentially are those of the Armenian 
National Church. All masses, prayers, and songs are in the Armenian 

The Armenian National churches maintain fifty schools throughout 
the country. These schools are rehgious in purpose and aim, and 
educational, hoping to acquaint the younger generation with their 
mother tongue, history, Hterature, and art. At the present time they 
are making favorable and rapid progress along educational lines, and 
are adding what the American schools fail to give — ^the background 
of the culture and arts of their mother country. This additional 
educational endeavor is welcomed by the younger generation and is 
becoming more popular daily. 

Organizations. The Armenians in this country lack purely fra- 
ternal organizations. There is no exact counterpart of the Pan- 
HeUenic Union among them, but the ones they have are supple- 
mented by (i) political, (2) scholastic, (3) philanthropic, (4) reh- 
gious, and (5) ethnocentric groups. 

The first of the poHtical organizations, which is divided into 



four main divisions, is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, 
A.R.F. or Dashnaktzootune (Dashnags), which was founded in 
1890 by a group of Russian Armenians. It is democratic socialist. 
Since Soviet Russia annexed the present Armenian Republic and 
made it one of the Soviets, the Federation has opposed the Soviet 
rule and has persistently demanded a complete autonomy for the 
Armenian Republic, claiming in the meantime the territories originally 
belonging to Armenia. The second group is the Ramgavar (Arme- 
nian Democratic Liberal Party), which may be called “the middle of 
the roaders,” The third, the Armenian Progressive League of 
America (formerly known as the Armenian Section of the Com- 
munist party of the United States), is similar to any other communist 
group. Last, the Hunchaks (Social Democratic Hunchakian party 
of America) is the oldest but the smallest political party among the 

In the field of scholastic organizations, the Armenian Students 
Association is the largest group, with branches wherever there is a 
group of students. Its purpose being purely educational, it has aided 
a number of students who have felt the need of financial support. It 
has also tried to make the younger generation conscious of their duties 
toward their country. 

Other similar organizations are the Armenian Scientific Association 
and the Armenian Youth Federation (Junior organization of the 
A.R.F.) . The first stresses the scientific angle, and the second empha- 
sizes Armenian history, literature, art education, and political 

The Armenian General Benevolent Union, founded in 1906 at 
Cairo, Egypt, has over eighty branches in the United States and 
Canada, and half as many in Europe. With the cooperation of its 
junior organization (Junior League), this union has done noble work 
in alleviating the distress of thousands of Armenian orphans m 
Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and present Soviet Armenia. Some of the 
wealthiest Armenians are patrons of this union. 

There are other benevolent organizations largely local in char- 
acter, and several women’s auxiliary organizations, one of these 
being the Armenian Relief Corps (sister organization of the Arm enian 
Revolutionary Federation), which has a branch in every Atmenian 

In the arts, there are several singing and dancing organizations in 
principal cities with a large Armenian population. The members 
are trained not to become future professional artists, but to further 



Armenian art in this country within their own group and without. 
Their purpose is exclusively educational. 

The press. No matter where the Armenians may be, they are 
quick to start a paper in their own language, and not for the sake of 
financial gain, for almost all Armenian journalistic enterprises are 
losing propositions. Yet, such papers have sprung up like mushrooms 
since the Armenian colonization began in this country. 

Arekag (the Stm) was the first Armenian periodical, published 
in Jersey City, in 1888, as a monthly; but in 1889 the name was 
changed to Soorhantag (Messenger) and the paper became a w^eekly. 
After continuing two years, this periodical again changed its name 
to Azadootune (Freedom), and shortly afterward ceased publication. 

This paper was followed by the Ararat (1891), which lasted two 
years, and the Haik (1891), which lasted six years. Then came 
Yeprad (1897), a weekly, and the Tigris, published the same year. 
After a short while the former was discontinued, and the latter 
changed its name to Tsign Haireniatz (Voice of Armenia). An- 
other important publication was the Azk (Nation) of Boston, 
which began as a weekly in 1906 and was discontinued in 1922 after 
being published as a daily for a few years. 

In 1899 there came into existence in New York City one of the 
foremost Aj:menian language newspapers in this country, the weekly 
Hairenik (Fatherland,) sponsored by half a dozen A.R.F. mem- 
bers. This newspaper is still in existence as a daily (since 1915), and 
is published in Boston. It is the oldest Armenian publication in the 
world and has the largest circulation in the United States. It also pub- 
lishes a monthly, the most outstanding periodical in the history of 
Armenian literature. It is rich in literary and historical material. 
Another publication that has exerted much literary and religious in- 
fluence is the Gotchnag, founded in 1900 by the late Herbert Alien, 
with the collaboration of Armenian Protestants. 

There were in 1944 several major Armenian publications, not 
including church or other publications such as Hoosharar, the 
monthly organ of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. The 
names of these publications foUow: Asbarez, (The Arena), a weekly 
founded in 1908, organ of the A.R.F.; Mushag, an independent 
weekly; and Nor Or (New Day), a weekly, organ of Ramgavar. 
These are published in Fresno, California. Hdrenik, Hairenik 
Monthly, and Baikar (Strife), a daily, organ of Ramgavar (1922), are 
published in Boston, Massachusetts. Eritassard Hayastm (Young 
Armenia), a weekly ( 1 903 ) , is an organ of Hunchag party; Gotchnag 



(Bell, 1900), also a weekly, is the organ of Protestant Armenians. 
Lraper (Messenger), a triweekly, organ of the Armenian Progressive 
League of America (Communist) superseded Fanvor (Worker), a 
daily, for a short period; Nor Kir (New Letter), quarterly, is a 
literary magazine. Hayasdaniatz Yegeghitzi (Church of Armenia.) 
IS a monthly religious periodical, organ of the Armenian Prelacy. 
The last four are published in New York City. 

Besides the Armenian publications, several periodicals have been 
published in the English language for the English-spealdng world and 
the young Armenian generation of the United States. The fore- 
runner of these was Armenia (later named New Armenia), founded 
about 1906-1907, and published intermittently until 1920. In 1944 
two Armenian weeklies were being published for the Armenian 
younger generation of the United States. These are: the Hairenik 
Weekly (1934), of Boston, the organ of the Armenian Youth Federa- 
tion, affiliated with the A.R.F., which recently celebrated its tenth 
anniversary with a special issue of 160 pages; and The Armenian 
Mirror Spectator, a weekly published in New York (1936). Youth, 
the organ of the Armenian Communist youth, ceased publication 
several years ago. 

Social life. Social life is gay for the elders, who gather on occa- 
sions, at picnic grounds and ballrooms, for affairs sponsored by polit- 
ical parties or religious, lay, or benevolent groups, for the sake of 
meeting one another and having a good time. Although athletically 
inclined, Armenians have no gymnastic organizations of great size. 
The Armenians hold two Olympic games each year: one sponsored 
by the Armenian Youth Federation, and the other by the Armenian 
General Athletic Union. At these meetings, the participants achieve 
fine records. During the year, these two organizations hold competi- 
tion meetings between their own branches in various sports. 

Some national celebrations of the Armenians are observed in Amer- 
ica. One of the most important of these is the commemoration of 
St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, inventors of the Armenian alphabet 
(41 3 A.D.) and translators of the Bible. To Armenians, the St. Sahag 
and St. Mesrob Day is a solemn occasion when every true Armenian 
becomes rightfully proud of his race, proud of its history, literature, 
and culture, because in “this age the foundations of a national con- 
sciousness, culture, and religious idealism were laid. The very fact 
that Armenians thus built up a high type of Christian civilization in 
the heart of the Near East exposed them to the hostility of alien 
peoples smrrounding them with a different type of civilization. What 
really has always created a crisis in the national life of Armenians 


and has menaced their very existence has also, paradoxically, proved 
to be the secret of their endurance and survival through every such 
crisis.” ® 

Other important national celebrations are Vartanantz Day and Inde- 
pendence Day (May 28, Armenian Independence or November 29, 
foundation of the Soviet Armeman Republic). 

In an interview with the author, Horst von der Goltz,’^ who has 
perhaps as wide a contact with immigrant groups as has any individual, 
stated that the Armenians display a greater degree of adaptability than 
other late comers, and yet at the same time retain their old-country 
ideals. Paradoxical though this statement may seem, it is nevertheless 
a fact. They become conscientious and devoted citizens, learn the 
Americanization requirements with great rapidity, and become 
assimilated amazingly and exceedingly well. Why? First, because 
they know and appreciate the value of education; and second, being 
the sons of a persecuted people, they have learned the art of assimila- 
tion and are receptive to international influences. 

With the American-bom Armenian, the ALmericanization influence 
is still greater. These young people, because of their immaturity, at 
first resent things Armenian; but gradually a marked change steals over 
them, and they become interested in their ancestry, begin to show 
appreciation of Armenian art, Armenian literature, and Armenian 
history, and are almost boastingly proud of being of Armenian 
descent. Recently, this writer made the following observations: ® 

Furthermore, the education of these folk in their ancestral background 
has had its positive social and psychological aspects. They, as a group, 
no longer feel ashamed of their background. On the contrary, they now 
feel deeply proud of the commendable qualities displayed by their an- 
cestors fighting doggedly to preserve their culture, their institutions, their 
identity, and their idealism. In the perpetual historical struggle of their 
mother country, they have drawn a certain parallelism and similarity with 
the history of their own country— the United States, which is now en- 
gaged in a gigantic struggle to preserve the very dignity of the human 

The American-bom Armenians, like their parents, are devoted citi- 
zens and have taken fuU advantage of our educational system. A 
great many of them attend colleges and become worthy workers in 

® Statements are from a small pamphlet published by the Armenian, Evangelical 
Church of New York City. 

Editor of Folk Nevis, published by Folk Festival Council, aaz Fourth Avenue, 
New York City. 

®Rouben Gavoor, “Weekly’s Tenth Anniversary,” in Hairenik Weekly's Tenth 
Anniversary, Number, 1934-1944, p. (58. 



their chosen fields. The younger generation of American-born 
Armenians have much to offer to America. Signs of this are already 
evident in many fields, where they have exhibited exceptional talent, 
be it in music, painting, engineering, science, the social sciences, archi- 
tecture, farming, business, the educational, medical, or military fields. 

Comparatively speaking, the number of Armenians leaving this 
country is negligible. They generally came with the purpose of 
staying. With no independent country to turn to, America became 
their country, and it is for this reason that they make wise use of their 
opportunity to become devoted, law-abiding, and honest citizens. 

Contrihutions to American Life 

Estimation and evaluation are difficult to make concerning leaders 
of any one group of people, as it is a peculiarly individual concept. 
With this in mind, we mention a few outstanding Armenians in 
America who have played or are playing a leading part in making 
contributions toward enriching the land of their adoption. 

In the field of arts, many names are well known: Hovsep Pushman 
of New York is one of the foremost contemporary painters. The 
paintings of Sarkis Khachadoorian, Manuel Tolegian, and Edmund 
Yaghjian have earned wide publicity and high praise. A. Fetvajian 
of Boston is a painter and student of Armenian architecture. 
H. Ajemian (Ariel) of New York, mural painter, won fame with 
his murals of the Roxbury (Massachusetts) Cathedral (1942). 
Mugurdish Garo was a famous photographer of Boston, unquestion- 
ably one of the finest in America. Haig Patigian and Rouben Nakian 
have gained national fame as sculptors. Paolo Ananian (now de- 
ceased) was a noted and popular Metropolitan opera singer for over 
two decades. Armand Tokatyan is an internationally famous opera 
singer. The appealing voices of Rose Zulalian, Mario Arakian, Zaruhi 
Elmassian, and Alice Avakian have vibrated on many concert plat- 
forms. Alan Hovannes is a young composer-pianist whose composi- 
tions have been played by leading symphonies. Maro Ajemian, 
composer-pianist and instructor at Julliard School of Music, shows 
promising talent regarding which the music critics have used superla- 
tives. Tamara Toumanova, dancer, is one of the world’s leading 
ballerinas. Nikita Balieff, who died some years ago, was the promi- 
nent actor of Chauve-Souris. Akim Tamiroff is a popular character 
movie actor. Rouben Mamoulian is a distinguished stage and movie 
director. Among the novelists and short-story writers, the name of 
William Saroyan is too well known for comment. Avedas Derounian 



(John Roy Carlson) is the author of numerous magazine articles and 
of the best-seller, Under Cover. Lesser-known but promising novel- 
ists are Richard Hagopian, author of The Dove Brmgs Peace, and 
Emanuel Varandyan, author of The Well of Ararat. Arlene Francis 
(Kazanjian) is a popular radio and stage actress. 

In the field of business, such names as the following come to the 
fore-front: Karagheusian, Gulbankian, Nahigian, Kelekian, Avakian, 
Arakelian, A. Setrakian, Mardigian, and Zildjian. The first five are 
prominent rug merchants. Arakelian, Mosesian, and A. Setrakian are 
nationally known grape producers and shippers, as well as wine manu- 
facturers. Setrakian is one of the well-known public figures in the 
raisin industry, who, during World War II, was appointed as a coun- 
sellor of the UNNRA. Mardigian is well known as the owner of 
a chain of Oriental restaurants in California, the most famous being 
Omar Khayyam of San Francisco. Zildjian is a manufacturer of 
world-famous cymbals, made by a secret process handed down from 
father to son for generations in Constantinople. This secret formula 
is jealously guarded from competitors. The family is now engaged 
in the same business in Salem, Massachusetts. 

The Armenians in this country have gained even greater prestige 
in the professions and in education than in business. Only a few 
examples can be given: Dr. Varastad Kazandjian, professor of aural 
surgery at Harvard, is one of the greatest authorities in his field. Dr. 
Minas Gregory was the eminent psychiatrist who, for over twenty 
years, was the head of the psychopathic department of Bellevue 
Hospital. Mooshegh Vaygoony was the famous California scientist 
who invented synthetic tartaric acid. Dr. Seropian, one of the first 
Armenian doctors and scientists, was the inventor of the green color- 
ing matter of the American dollar. Dr. S. K. Kassabian was the 
famous Philadelphia scientist, one of the greatest investigators of the 
Roentgen ray in the world. Professor 'VTadimir Karapetoff is pro- 
fessor of electrical engineering at Cornell and is the author of Experi- 
mental Electrical En^neering. He is classed among the American 
men of science. The late Professor M. Y. Ananigian was well known 
as professor of theology at Hartford Seminary and the author of 
several articles in the Hasting’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 
The late Dr. M. Mangassarian, of Pasadena, California, was a great 
theologian philosopher, humanist, and orator, and the founder of the 
Free Church of Chicago. Profe^r Sirarpie Der Nersesian, chairman 
of the art department at Wellesley College, some years ago received 
France’s highest scholastic degree from the Sorbonne. She is the 



author of Illustration du Rosnan de Barlaarn and Armenian lllustries. 
For the past few years she has been lecturing at the Morgan Library, 
New York, as the first person appointed to the hbrary as a lecturer. 
The late Professor Aram Torossian, author of A Guide to Aesthetics, 
was professor of architecture and art at the University of California 
(Berkeley). Professor Yervant Krikorian holds the chairmanship 
of the philosophy department at the City College of New York. 
Professor H. M. Dadurian is a professor of the Sheffield Scientific 
School at Yale. He has written several thought-provoking articles 
for the American Journal of Science. 

Innumerable other outstanding Armenian immigrants have been 
equally as famous in the foregoing and other fields.® Some of the 
offspring of these immigrants have found their place in every known 
field. Some are in the making, and others are budding; but space does 
not permit their inclusion. Suffice to say that the future holds even 
greater promise for the Armenians to contribute more of their rich 
and ancient culture to the cultural pluralism of America, which is 
gradually emerging from the mixture of various immigrant cultures 
into a distinct American type. Armenians have played no small part 
in this contribution, and will continue to do so on a larger scale in 
the future, as long as freedom and opportunity is theirs to enjoy. 

Elmer L. Hedin 

It is inevitable that any discussion of immigration from India to the 
United States must bristle with apparent contradictions, and it is 
impossible to explain such discrepancies in a satisfactory manner to 
anyone not already somewhat acquainted with the endlessly diverse 
culture of India, its numerous racial and linguistic origins, its extremes 
of riches and poverty, its easy tolerance and its crystallized caste 
structure, its idealism, and its indifference to discomfort and suffering. 

The migration of culture traits from India, so far as the United 
States is concerned, has taken place largely through intermediaries; 
only in the last generation has there been much direct contact between 
natives of the two countries. Few Americans have lived in India 
long enough to understand what they observed. Numerically the 

9 See Hdrmik Weekly^ Tenth Anniversary Number, for biographical sketches of 
leading Armenian Americans now in the armed forces, including General Haig 
Shekerjian, Colonel Sarkis M, Zartarian, Major Axra Arakian, Lieutenant Com- 
mander Jack Mahigian, and many more. 


3 “ 

Hindus in this country constitute a small group, economically their 
importance is negligible, culturally most of them have been isolated 
from our social hfe. Nevertheless, I hope that the reader will see the 
picture of their life in America, as presented here, against the larger 
background of cultural interchange between India and the West. 

I have used the term “Hindu” in the title heading and shall con- 
tinue to use it in referring genericaUy to natives of India, but it is a 
term that requires qualification. A Hindu, strictly speaking, is one 
who professes Hinduism. Actually, most of the so-called Hindus 
in the United States belong to the Sikh religion and a few are Muham- 
madans from northern India and from Afghanistan. The word 
“Hindu” will therefore be understood in its popular sense unless the 
religious meaning is specifically indicated. 


It is recorded that one alien from India came to the United States 
in 1820, but we do not know whether he was a Hindu or a European 
bom in India, as arriving aliens were not distinguished by race until 
1899. In any event, arrivals from India numbered less than 100 a 
year until 1904, when 258 Hindus were admitted. The number 
increased to 1,072 in 1907 and to 1,782 in 1910, after which immi- 
gration restrictions reduced admissions to about 2,600 in twenty 
years. Since 1930, very few Hindus have been admitted, and those 
who returned to India have outnumbered the new arrivals. Allowing 
for those who entered the country iUegally and for errors in the census 
returns, it is probable that not more than 6,000 Hindus were ever in 
the United States at one time. There were 3,130 in 1930, according 
to the census of that year, and in aU probability there were not more 
than that number in 1944. 

The motives back of this immigration, the processes through which 
it occurred, and the forces that halted it are not difficult to identify. 
According to Immigration Office records, most of the Hindus who 
entered the country between 1904 and 1910 were agricultural laborers 
from the Punjab in northern India. They came from fairly fertile 
but overpopulated areas. Families increased, but the productivity of 
the soil did not. A few heard of opportunities in Aunerica and, after 
a brief time here, wrote letters to relatives in India enclosing money 
orders. Steamship companies, making profit from crowded and 
fetid steerage decks, advertised throughout the Punjab. Individuals 
traveled through the villages recruiting contract labor for private 
employers in Canada. In 1908, the Canadian government effectively 



stopped further immigration, and the number dropped from 3,623 
in 1908 to 6 in 1909. This action shifted the immigration to the 
United States. 

Few women were included in the immigration from India. Most 
of the men came with the thought only of saving money and then 
returning home. Some carried out their plan, but most of them, 
especially the Sikhs and the true Hindus, remained. They moved 
through the usual occupational cycle of Asiatics on the west coast, 
working at first as laborers in industry and agriculture, later as fore- 
men and leasers in the farming districts and as small businessmen in the 
cities. A handful of upper-class Hindus were granted American 
citizenship, but this was later revoked. 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Occupations. During the first period after the arrival of the 
Hindus, they were often paid lower wages than laborers of other 
ethnic groups. After their drift into agricultural occupations, how- 
ever, they bargained successfully in competition with laborers of such 
groups. In California they at first moved about in gangs, each under 
a headman and interpreter, hiring out as a body, drifting from the 
rice lands of the Sacramento Valley to the cotton district in the 
Imperial Valley as the crops ripened. Many employers liked them; 
they could be depended on to stay until a crop was harvested, and 
they rarely complained about the primitive living quarters provided 
for transient labor. Moreover, they loved the land and soon adapted 
themselves to new agricultural methods. 

But the Hindus, Hke the Japanese, are a thrifty and frugal people 
with plenty of initiative. Their ambition has been to operate their 
own farms and businesses, and they have to a large extent achieved it. 
In British Columbia they own and operate several lumber mills, and 
a number of them have small fruit and vegetable farms in the vicinity 
of Vancouver. In the Imperial, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Valleys 
of California they operate several hundred thousand acres of land. 
Some who began as day laborers or section hands have established 
small business establishments and opened stores and restaurants. 

Culture contacts. The Hindu was a late comer to the labor markets 
of the west coast. On his arrival there, he found a public opinion 
already bitterly antagonistic to Asiatic labor and organized to oppose 
its entrance. AH the arguments and prejudices which had been used 
to bring about the exclusion of Chinese and Japanese were turned 
against the Hindus. They were several times the objects of mob 


violence: at Bellingham, Washington, in September, 1907; at Live 
Oak, Cahfomia, in 1908; and at St. John, Oregon, in 1910. At that 
time a stricter interpretation of the American immigration laws prac- 
tically stopped Hindu immigration, and the tension lessened. Not 
that Hindus were better liked, but the few who slipped into the 
country across the Mexican border were not regarded as constituting 
a menace to American labor or American culture. 

But the pattern of Hindu life in America had been set, a pattern 
of unyielding prejudice against these “ragheads” on the one hand, 
and of bewilderment gradually changing into resentful self-sufficiency 
on the other. And the Hindu culture traits that most clearly meas- 
ured the social distance between the two peoples were the very ones 
that these men from India prized most highly. It has already been 
indicated that most of them were Sikhs, and the Sikh religion pre- 
scribes that its men shall wear fuU beards and long hair. These adorn- 
ments, together with the turbans worn by all the Indian immigrants, 
set their wearers apart. Moreover, there were food tabus: Hindus 
and Sikhs might not eat beef or eat meat prepared by persons of other 
races; Muhammadans might not eat pork; all had scruples about eat- 
ing with persons outside their own groups. These men were too 
different to be accepted casually by Americans and too fixed in their 
own culture to dispense with the customs that set them apart. 

Consequently, they have maintained themselves in this country 
isolated from its social life to a degree probably equaled by no other 
people. It is true that expediency has dictated the abandonment of 
certain customs that prevail in India, but the changes have been 
superficial. The abnormal ratio of men to women also has been an 
important factor in their isolation, since it encouraged the continuance 
of groups living together in the same house on a democratic communal 
basis and of partnerships in renting land. Their chief meats are lamb 
and poultry, heavily seasoned with curry and other spices. Fruits 
and vegetables occupy a prominent place in their diet. They use 
little furniture in their houses and few cooking utensils. Chapatis, 
the unleavened bread of India made with wheat flour and plenty of 
butter, are baked on the top of the stove. While farmers adopt 
American work clothes, in other personal habits they tend to retain 
their old-world characteristics, -u 

The total number of Hindu families in this countn' not known, 
but they are relatively few and confined iaigci). to the upper classes. 
A few professional men have been permitted to bring their vrives 
from In^ Several educated Hindus have married American women 



and a number of farm workers have married Mexican women. Even 
though most of these marriages seem to be successful, they are frowned 
upon to such an extent that they merely serve to intensify the 

There were in 1930, according to the fifteenth census, 412 Amer- 
ican-bom Hindus in the United States, 333 of whom were under 
ten years of age and 220 of whom were residents of California. It 
must be remembered that these children include those bom of mixed 
marriages and those belonging to Hindu families of cosmopolitan 
culture. They are to be regarded as more American than Hindu 
in their attitudes and in the social customs to which they are being 
conditioned. They accept the cultural pattern of the mother. 
Those of school age are attending school. 

It may be said here that the Hindus in this country have shown an 
interest in education equaled by scarcely any other cultural group. 
Their children are given the best schooling possible, and several adults 
of the laboring class have used their savings to complete college 
courses in engineering, forestry, and medicine, later returning to 
India to practice their professions. In addition, American Hindus 
have contributed generously to the support of schools both here and 
in India, as well as to other philanthropies. 

Organizations. The Hindus have no national association to further 
the economic welfare of their people here, but they support a number 
of rehgious, social, and pohtical organizations, most of which are of 
merely local importance. One of the strongest is the Sikh religious 
group, the Khalsa Diwan Society, with American headquarters at 
Stockton, California. It owns a temple in that city, collects dues 
from members, and encourages religion and education. The Moslem 
Association of America was founded at Sacramento in 1919 for 
similar purposes. A militant nationalist organization, the Pacific 
Coast Hindustani Association (better known as the Gadar Party) , has 
its headquarters in San Francisco and is concerned with freeing India 
from British rule. The activities of this party are supposed to have 
been connected with certain murders of Hindus which have occurred 
in Cahfomia during the past ten years, but quite possibly the men 
Idlled were done away with because they had informed against those 
of their countrymen who had entered the United States via the 
Mexican border. Apparently, too, financial gain was a motive in 
these murders. 

The press. A number of periodicals have been published by 
Hindus in this country, but most of them have been short-lived. At 



die present time, the Sikh organization prints a certain amount of 
rehgious literature, and there are two Indian nationalist publications 
which appear fairly regularly, one in Hindi published in San Francisco, 
one in English published in New York. 

Contributions to American Life 

Little has been said in this chapter concerning Hindu immigrants of 
the business and professional classes. That is because they are, for 
the most part, international in culture and lost among the general 
American population rather than congregated in groups. Some 
hundreds of Hindus reside in the cities of the North and East, some 
of whom originally entered the country as sailors and established 
small businesses. Others follow various professions and skilled trades. 
A few are engaged in the teaching of Indian religion and philosophy. 
Several are professors in American colleges. 

To many of these men the United States owes a debt of gratitude 
for their sincere and tireless efforts in working for cultural inter- 
changes between India and America. Among others might be men- 
tioned Dhan Gopal Mukerji (deceased) and Kedar Nath Das Gupta. 
Probably the most famous Hindu now residing in the United States 
is Jiddu Krishnamurti, poet and philosopher. These and many others 
have helped to make us aware of the depth and richness of India’s 
culture, a subject which we might well study to the end of the better 
focusing and guiding of our raw and undisciplined energies. As an 
indication that the reverse process also has merit, it might be men- 
tioned that a number of Hindus educated in American universities are 
now employed in the official service of the progressive Indian states 
of Baroda and Gwahor. If the immigration of Hindu workers into 
the United States has been a social failure, the outcome of our rela- 
tions with Hindus of the educated class has been one of outstanding 

Joseph S. Roucek 

The Dragon Empire of China became a Dragon Republic thirty- 
two years ago on October 8; but in 1944 the anniversary found the 
dragon fighting too hard for great celebration. The Chinese Re- 
public’s birthday was observed, however, in the United States, where 
citizens of Chinese origin gave a day of commemoration to the an- 
cestral homeland which many of them have never seen. 




The United States immigration statistics show that one Chinese 
was admitted in 1820 and that up to 1853 only eighty-eight had been 
admitted. These first arrivals were received without prejudice and 
even with enthusiasm. They were mild, unobtrusive, and industrious, 
and in those days race antipathy was subordinated to industrial neces- 
sity. They were highly valued as general laborers, carpenters, and 
cooks; their restaurants were well kept and extensively patronized. 
They took to pieces the old vessels that lay abandoned in the channel 
of the Golden Gate. They cleared and drained the rich lands of 
California, work that the white miners of the gold rush were too busy 
to undertake. Women were lacking in the Pacific coast settlements, 
and the Chinese served as cooks and laundrymen. The white miners 
sold their worked-out claims to the Chinese and looked for larger 
and more promising sites. 

About 20,000 Chinese arrived in 1852 and 13,000 in 1854. In the 
1 86o’s, they were once more in demand. At the end of the Civil War, 
the work of completing the first transcontinental railroad was rapidly 
pushed forward. On the Union Pacific Railroad, building westward 
from Omaha, were the Irish and other workers; on the Central Pacific 
Railroad, building eastward through the mountains, nine out of every 
ten of the workers were Chinese. 

From this time on, the Chinese filtered eastward to our great cities 
where they took up different occupations. Their numbers gradually 
increased, 40,000 being admitted in 1882, most of whom settled along 
the west coast. As a result of this increase in the number of Chinese 
immigrants, 123,201 from 1871 to 1880, Congress, in 1882, suspended 
Chinese immigration for ten years. This suspension was later re- 
newed and the number admitted from 1890 to 1943 was 92,764, 
or only a little more than twice the number of arrivals in the United 
States during the single year, 1882. The number in America at 
any one time has decreased from 107,000 in 1890 to about 77,000 
in 1943. 

Anti-Oriental movement. The first difficulties arose in the mines 
where American miners objected to foreign competition — ^European, 
Mexican, Chilean, and especially Chinese, as, of all the groups con- 
cerned, the Chinese were most clannish, most obviously alien. The 
agitation of the Know-Nothing Party of the East was paralleled in the 
West by a growing antagonism, the result of the passing of the gen- 
erous enthusiasms of the early days of gold and the evidences of the 



growing competition and realities of hard work. The Chinese had 
to suffer the brunt of serious attacks. The former “docile” Chinese 
were accused of being “contract coolies, avaricious, ignorant of moral 
obligations, incapable of being assimilated and dangerous to the wel- 
fare of the state.” ^ Mob violence took place in some mining districts, 
and in 1852 the California legislature imposed a special tax on all 
aliens engaged in mining. The tax became increasingly higher in 
subsequent years, but was declared unconstitutional in 1870. Thus 
prejudice served as a “good” reason for revenues. Later, however, 
the objections took the form of exclusion, especially when condi- 
tioned by the rising tide of national and racial consciousness. Cul- 
tural and biological arguments superseded to the economic reasons, 
and the agitation finally reached national proportions. In 1868 the 
Burlingame Treaty still recognized the right of immigration between 
the United States and China, but Chinese were barred from becoming 
citizens through naturalization. Restriction on immigration began 
in 1880, when a treaty with China permitted a reasonable limitation 
of Chinese laborers. But the Chinese continued their exodus, pro- 
moted by steamship companies, and in 1882 immigration of Chinese 
laborers was prohibited, and subsequent treaties and legislative acts 
estabhshed it as a national policy. In 1917 China was included in 
the barred zone. Chinese were not permitted to be naturalized and 
ordinary immigrants were not allowed to enter according to the Act 
of 1924. This period is marked by a tendency of the Chinese toward 
wider occupational and territorial distribution, accompanied by the 
intensification of prejudice and active opposition on the part of the 

T he repeal of the Chinese Exclusion A ct. Under the quota system, 
applied to immigration since 1924, only 105 Chinese could enter 
annually. But to China it was the principle that mattered — ^to China 
as one of the United Nations fighting on the side of the United States 
in World War 11 . In October, 1943, President Roosevelt asked 
Congress to act promptly on a pending bill to repeal Chinese exclusion 
laws as a means of assuring America’s Chinese allies that we regard 
them as full partners in the war agaiost Axis aggression. Repeal of 
the exclusion laws would allow an immigration of about 100 Chinese 
a year, Mr. Roosevelt said. This, he pointed out, would certainly 
not cause unemployment in this country or provide any measurable 

1 M. R. Coolidge, Chmese Inmugration^ p. 31. New York, Heruy Holt and Com- 
paay, 1909. 



competition in Americans’ search for jobs. “I regard this legislation, 
he said, “as important in the cause of winning the war and of estab- 
hshing a secure peace”; he commented that it would also silence the 
distorted Japanese propaganda.” 

The proposal had greater significance for the west coast than for 
any other section of the country. This area, and California in partic- 
ular, had led the fight for the immigration ban more than sixty years 
ago. In the intervening period, coast residents had not been per- 
mitted to overlook the possible consequences, especially economic, 
that might result from an “opening of the door.” 

As recently as early 1943, few observers would have supposed that 
California, through boards of supervisors or city councils of its leading 
municipalities, through chambers of commerce and many other organ- 
izations, would express itself in favor of lifting the barrier so as to 
permit even 105 Chinese to enter the country annually on the quota 
basis. This was the case, however. There unquestionably was a 
substantial change of attitude, and the House of Representatives’ ap- 
proval of President Roosevelt’s proposal was greeted with satisfaction 
by newspapers such 2s The Sun Francisco Chronicle, which had cam- 
paigned editorially since the spring of 1943 for repeal, and by dozens 
of organizations, spearheaded by the Citizen’s Victory Committee, 
which had shared in the campaign.^ Generally speaking, the support- 
ing west-coast organizations took the stand that repeal of the Exclusion 
Act was important in combating Japanese propaganda, which accused 
America of discriminating against an ally, and in giving concrete 
assurance of good will toward China, thus bolstering her morale. 
The Chinese Americans regarded the step as a great victory for justice.® 
There was a pretty general behef that the visit of Mme. Chiang Kai- 
shek to the west coast in the spring of 1943 played no inconsiderable 
part in swinging sentiment in California in the direction of repeal, 
which came into effect as federal law at the turn of 1944. 

The Chinese still have to meet all the requirements of our immi- 
gration laws, 105 being eligible to be admitted each year. But the 
new law differs from regulations governing the admission of other 

2 “House Vote on Chinese Pleases Many on Coast,*^ The New York Times, October 
31, 1943. 

3 It cannot be said that the west coast was unanimously in favor of this step. Labor 
was split on the subject: the Congress of Industrial Organizations supported repe^ 
but American Federation of Labor groups, with far larger membership, opposed it. 
Officials of the Native Sons of the Golden West also opposed it. On the other 
hand, the American Legion’s Department of California called for repeal of the Ex- 
clusion Act and recommended that the Oregon and Washington departments take 
similar action. The Veterans of Foreign Wars likewise backed repeal in California. 



nationals in one respect: the annual quota is granted to Chinese and 
ngt to China, so that the immigration quota applies to all persons of 
Chinese descent, whether they are residents of China or of some other 

Cultural Differentiation and Assimilation 

Settlements. Almost nine tenths of the Chinese Americans are city- 
dwellers. Eight large metropolitan areas contain the bulk of Chinese 
population. Next to the impressive concentration in the San Fran- 
cisco Bay cities, New York City has the largest Chinese colony. 
Los Angeles and Chicago rank next. Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, 
and Seattle have over a thousand each. Chicago, Cleveland, St. 
Louis, and Detroit are the only cities that have lured settlements of 
Chinese far inland; Chicago has approximately 2,000, and the others 
only several hundred each. Newark, Baltimore, and San Diego, with 
their coastal locations, have four to six hundred Chinese inhabitants. 
The small Chinatown of the nation’s capital is about the same size. 
The expatriates thrive best in large communities of their fellow coun- 

Stories of ’49’s fabulous successes in California gilded it with bright 
hopes of wealth, and for the Chinese newcomers the name of America’s 
western coast was Kum Shan, “the Golden Hill.” Since San Fran- 
cisco was the port of entry through which most of the gold-rushers 
from China reached this gilded land, the port came to be their symbol 
for all Kum Shan. Today, although San Francisco is also called 
“No. I City,” its recognized name among Chinese-speaking Ameri- 
cans is still Kum Shan. 

In this Chinese metropolis of the new world and neighboring set- 
tlements on the west coast, the Chinese have retained greater auton- 
omy than any other immigrant group. On a yearly concession from 
an American telephone company, the Chinese company has its own 
directory, in Chinese, and its own exchange, in a pagoda-shaped build- 
ing just off Grant Avenue. Holes on the switchboard are numbered, 
as on other telephone switchboards, and every subscriber has a tele- 
phone number; but the Chinese prefer to call their friends by name, 
and the operator gives the right number from memory. Among the 
other special facilities of the Chinese in San Francisco are five daily 
newspapers in their own language, which circulate to other Chinese 
expatriates within a radius of 2,000 miles. 

In New York, the Chinese are mainly small shopkeepers, art and 
curio dealers, domestic workers and laundrymen. They live in some 



of the city’s worst tenements. Their few doctors, artists, and teach- 
ers have a clientele largely limited to their own countrymen. “China- 
town,” so familiar to out-of-town sightseers, is a sharply defined 
area of short, narrow streets in the Bowery district northwest of 
Chatham Square. 

Orgmhations. Chinese fraternal organizations, which once cen- 
tered about the much publicized tongs, have shifted, and the nature 
of the tongs themselves has changed. Once marked by racketeering, 
gambling, and bloodshed, tong affairs have been quiet for some years. 
For the most part, the tongs have returned to their original character 
of benevolent and protective societies. The two main tongs in China- 
town are still the Hip Sings and the On Leong Tong. The Chinese 
Consolidated Benevolent Society, enrolling members of both organ- 
izations, now adjudicates all tong disputes. 

The Chinese publish three daily newspapers in New York, the 
largest of which is the liberal Chinese Journal, which boasts a circula- 
tion of 8,000. Other papers include the Chinese Nationalist Daily, 
organ of the Kuomintang’s New York branch, and the Chinese Re- 
public News, featuring mainly Chinese Masonic Lodge news. There 
is also the Chinese Vanpiard, a weekly published by the left-wing 
Chinese Workers’ Club. 

Chinese New Year’s day, which happens anywhere from the first 
of January to mid-February, is still celebrated with dragon parades 
and firecrackers, but is almost the only occasion for a large-scale 
observance. The Chinese commemorate the birth and death of Sun 
Yat-sen and the founding of the Chinese Republic. They maintain 
a complete school for their children, a Chinese dramatic society which 
stages Chinese plays, and two Bowery movie houses which show 
Chinese films after lo p.m.* 

Since men migrate in advance of women, and migration of Chinese 
was stopped before a natural adjustment took place, there are more 
than four times as many men as women among the population of 
transplanted Chinese communities. In fact, there have never been in 
this country enough Chinese girls for the Chinese young men to 
marry. When the census of 1940 was taken, there were 77,504 
Chinese in the country, 57,389 males and 20,115 females. Of the 
total, 40,262 were native-born American citizens, but of these only 
14,560 were females. Presumably, a larger number of native-born 
Chinese girls had returned to China. 

^ Based on Federal Writers’ Project, New York Tcmorama, pp. 118-120, NeW 
York; Random House, 1938, 



Although many associate the Chinese with gang (tong) warfare, 
opium smoking, and other offenses, the actual criminal record of the 
Chinese is remarkably low, as shown by a careful study of Professor 
Walter G. Beach.® Contrary to the general belief, the tongs are an 
American product.® They originated in California and Nevada dur- 
ing the early gold rush and had their inception in the theory that 
might makes right. The meaning of the word tong is “protective 
society.” For a yearly fee, one tong will guarantee protection to 
its members against any enemies that they may happen to have in a 
rival tong. While all activities of the tongs are not commendable, 
most tongs perform useful social functions: they act as private courts 
by settling disputes, serve as insurance or mutual benefit organiza- 
tions, maintain schools, and provide for social intercourse on the 
same basis as do American social organizations.’’ 

Second- and third-generation problems. The greatest problem is, 
however, presented by the American-bom Chinese of foreign-bom 
parents. Contrary to the tendency of most other immigrant groups, 
for the most part the foreign-bom Chinese have been curiously pas- 
sive and indifferent to the opinion of Americans about them. This is 
partly, at least, the result of the hostihty and prejudices of the domi- 
nant whites against them. It is reflected in the Chinatowns with 
their Oriental customs and traditions; and it must not be also for- 
gotten that Chinatown is the place visited by Americans on their 
“slumming parties,” and on special occasions when the Chinese New 
Year Festival, the Festival of Lanterns, the Visiting of Tombs, the 
Festival of the Full Moon, and others, are viewed by curious visitors. 
It is then, in addition to a thousand and one minor or major occasions, 
that the Aunerican-bom Chinese is forced to realize his anomalous 
social position. These Chinese are culturally real “Aonericans,” or 
as nearly so as are the children of other European immigrants. They 
are traditional Americans in everything but slight physical mark- 
ings, which sometimes become nearly indistinguishable, yet are suffi- 
cient to throw these young Americans into a distinct caste. They 
leam, contrary to the experience of the American children, that their 
world around them does not grow as they do but is really becoming 
smaller and smaller. As children, they are tacitly accepted; as adults. 

^See W. G. Beach, Oriental Crime in California, Stanford University Press, 1932. 

6 See “A Chinese War Hero,” Literary Digest^ LXXXIII (December 13, 1924), 
p. 13. 

7 A. W- Palmer, Orimals in American Life, p. 29. New York: Friendship Press, 



they are grounded in a Chinatown against their wishes and ambi- 

All this presents a serious problem — one that starts usually during 
the attendance of the American-bom Chinese in the American school. 
Racial consciousness is developed through association with school- 
mates, especially in the upper grades. Unless this racial antagonism 
is checked, or unless there are only one or two Chinese members of 
the school, prejudices crop up on every side. In California these 
American youngsters have — or until very recently have had — ^no part 
in the school social life except among their own people. They are 
forced to realize that the “Chinatown” background and the biological 
heritage are handicapping them. They become dissatisfied with their 
parents’ social and economic status in the American community. 
Wanting to become fused into the American group and to escape 
the barriers set against them, they prepare for some kind of profes- 
sion or skilled occupation. But until now, at least, they have en- 
countered discrimination in almost every occupation, except those 
not desired by the Americans. “It has not been at all uncommon for 
University of California graduates, with Ph.D. degrees and Phi Beta 
Kappa keys, to be forced to accept jobs as cooks and waiters.”® 
And what is even worse, many of them belong to the second, third, 
and fourth generation — since the Chinese are perhaps the oldest 
immigrant group in California. 

These conditions again promote a great social distance between 
the older and younger generations. Many could solve their problems 
by looking to China for their life work, but large numbers of them 
have not learned Chinese, since their parents speak English. They 
are accustomed to American ways of thinking to the extent that they 
do not fit in with the Chinese culture. Others seek their social status 
in the Chinese community. But even the Chinatowns are gradually 
losing their distinctively old-world pattern with the passing of the 
Chinese-bom founders and with the inroads of Americanism. In- 
escapably, the commonest answer — ^up to 1943 — has been “What is 
the use?” Both the old and the new generation became highly 
skeptical, not only of the value of acquiring an education, but also 
of American political ideas. In fact, for years the Chinese were able 
to point with pride to one of the lowest crime rates of any ethnic 
group in America; but by 1940 observers began to note the appearance 

8 Carey McWilliams, Brothers under the Skin, pp. 103-104. Boston: Little, Brown 
and Company, 1943. T^^is is the most recent and best available survey of the prob- 
lem of A^eric^ Chiiiese. See, Chapter 11 , “The Long-Suffering Chinese,” pp. 79-1 ij. 



of factors making for a sharp increase in juvenile delinquency.® The 
Chinese family showed signs of disintegration and the gap between 
parents and children was steadily widening. 

World War 11 and changes in outlooks. It took Pearl Harbor to 
bring about some changes in this truly difficult situation. War in- 
dustries started hiring Chinese Americans as stenographers, timekeep- 
ers, welders, carpenters, shipyard and aircraft workers. Government 
agencies employed them and gave them positions of responsibihty. 
“As the younger Chinese moved outward into the American com- 
munity, antique shops and chop-suey restaurants and hand laundries 
began to close their doors.” What the future will hold for them 
if we return to a period of economic competition cannot be known 
now. One thing is certain, they have found a freedom they will not 
willingly relinquish. 

Contributions to American Life 

Strange to say, the contributions of the Chinese to America’s 
heritage are mostly the result of the hostility developed against him. 
We must not forget, of course, the hardships of the heavy work done 
by Chinese laborers during the development of our West. But the 
most obvious impress left by the Chinese is in two fields that are a 
component part of our culture. 

With the rising hostility of American public opinion against his 
economic competition, the Chinese had enough good sense to with- 
draw from most of the competitive occupations into the occupations 
that supplement those of the whites but do not compete with them.^’- 
Many Americans are, therefore, surprised to learn that no Chinese ever 
saw a starched collar or a wlute sheet before coming to America. 
Not only the laundry business has been developed by them, but one 
of the most popular American dishes, the famed chop suey, is their 
invention. Chop suey is not, surprising to say, a Chinese dish, but 
rather an American dish developed on the basis of the ingenious 
Chinese idea that the American prefers a large amount of food served 
for a small cost. 

The impress of the Chinese culture is not limited to these fields 
only. There are countless Chinese curio shops in America. Many 

® McWilliams, op. cit.y p. 104. 

McWilliams, op. ck., p, icxS. 

See R. D. McKenzie, “The Oriental Invasion,” Journal of Applied Sociology 
X (1925), pp. 125-126; R. E. Park, “Our Racial Frontier on the Pacific/ Survey 
LVI (1926), p. 196. 



of OUT motion picture palaces have taken over from the Chinese 
culture and from the Chinese-American pleasure estabhshments their 
concepts of Chinese art and incorporated them into the gaudy and 
splashy decorations which the American movie-goer loves so dearly. 
Leading Chinese scholars are invited to address our institutes and 
our leading universities. 

A few Chinese Americans have made notable names for themselves. 
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wo has come to be recognized as one of the most 
b rillian t young physicists in this country. Dr. Maurice William, 
the author of a refutation of Marxism that political scientists say 
radically changed the thinking of Dr. Sun, received the Order of the 
Jade from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek for the part he played in 
determining China’s history, although he had never visited that 
country. He was the only foreign member of the Kuomintang, the 
Chinese Nationalist Party, in 1944. Mustang pilot Lieutenant Wau 
Kau Kong, Chinese pilot with the United States Air Force in Britain, 
was lost in action in 1 944. Many more might be named from these 
and other fields if space permitted. 

After the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion laws word came that 
the Chinese of Hawaii, in a special “gratitude drive,” had bought 
more than a million dollars’ worth of war bonds “to give concrete 
evidence of their thanks to America.” 

Xo a greater extent than is true of many of the other nationality 
groups, contribution is reciprocal, for we have given much to the 
Chinese Americans and have received much from them. The in- 
fluence of America’s culture on Quna through Chinese immigrants 
cannot be measured. A large number of the Chinese who have re- 
turned to China have contributed to the development of their country 
by the money and ideas gained during their stay in America. Hun- 
dreds of Chinese students, who constitute the bulk of Chinese “immi- 
gration” today, have benefited by the benevolence of the American 
government in applying funds acquired by the Boxer indemnity for 
the education of Chinese in America. Quite a score of them stand 
high in administrative and other positions in their state. In fact, the 
Chinese student educated in America has become one of the strongest 
social forces in the development of the “new” China. We need 
only to recall how many times it has been repeated that the wife of the 
famed Chinese leader. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, was educated 
in Wellesley. 

^^The Nations CLVIII (March ii, 1944), p. 307* 



Chinese Americans responded wholeheartedly to the cry for help 
from the motherland when Japan began her rape of China and raised 
large amounts by means of “drives” for relief funds. Chinese children 
sold memorial poppies and buttons bearing the flag of the Chinese 
Republic, and Chinese Americans crowded around their newspaper 
ofiices to read the news from the battle front, although many of them 
knew their abused land only through the tales their fathers and 
grandfathers had told them about it. 

Joseph S. Roucek 

Although the Alien Registration program of 1940 showed that 
only about a third of the 127,000 Japanese Americans in the United 
States were aliens and two thirds were native bom and hence citizens, 
the problem of the Japanese minority has long been one of the most 
troublesome in the United States. As an internal problem, it might 
have been magnified out of its true proportion; but as an inseparable 
part of the international relations between the United States and 
Japan, its importance could not be overestimated. In this latter re- 
spect, in particular, it has been a dynamite-laden problem. Since 
1882, when the first Asiatic Exclusion Law was passed, we have re- 
fused to look squarely into this emotionalized problem, which had 
little counterpart in our treatment of any other minority group. 


Japanese immigration has much in common with the influx of 
various European peoples — ^in motivation, initial efforts to earn a 
livelihood, hostility aroused among groups within the economy, and 
final emergence of the newcomers in limited fields of endeavor. 
But racial difference has complicated the Japanese problem, narrow- 
ing for the Japanese American the area of occupational opportunity 
and contact with the established community. 

Prior to 1900, Japanese arrivals were less than i per cent of the 
total annual volume of immigration to America’s shores.^ Early 
Japanese entrants were shipwrecked sailors or occasional stowaways 
on foreign vessels; later, casual sojourners came and returned home 

* The most receat survey k “National Defense Migration, Fourth Interim Report of 
the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration,” Findings and 'Recom- 
mendations on Evacuation of Enemy Aliens and Others from Frohibited Military 
Zones, Washingtmi, D. G., Government Printing Office, 1942, pp. 59-226. 


or sailed for other lands. Total Japanese population in the United 
States was 55 in 1870, 148 in 1880; it rose to 2,039 1890, after 

the Imperial government had legalized the emigration of laborers 
(in 1885) and exclusion of Chinese by the act of 1882 had created 
a void in the labor supply for Japanese to fill. During the next 
decade Japanese arrivals increased until in 1900 they reached a peak 
of 1 2,628. This marked advance over the 2,844 who had landed here 
the preceding year is attributed to the inclusion of a large number of 
Japanese originally bound for Honolulu, who were diverted to San 
Francisco because of an outbreak of bubonic plague on the island. 

From 1901 to 1910, 54,929 Japanese immigrants were admitted to 
the continental United States, but this number was swelled by an 
estimated 37,000 from Hawaii who were not counted in the total 
Japanese admitted; 4,154 of these were classified as nonimmigrants, 
and some 9,000 were believed to have crossed the Mexican border 
to the United States illegally. 

The Japanese came here in response to demands for fresh sources of 
labor by the developing Pacific and mountain states, as well as to 
escape from an impoverished homeland. After the annexation of 
Hawaii, Japanese laborers, discouraged by their government from 
emigrating to the continental United States, used Hawaii as a stepping- 
stone to the mainland. There were also the students, who came for 
education in western science and ways of living, and the young men 
desiring to avoid military service. “Golden stories” about the promise 
of life in America, written by the first immigrants to their townsfolk, 
encouraged further immigration. The emigration societies advertised 
for emigrants through traveling solicitors and literature, arranging the 
voyage to America for a fee of ten to twenty yen. 

United States public opinion against Japanese immigration. The 
international importance of the problem came to a head in 1906 
when relations between Tokyo and Washington had become greatly 
strained over the question of Japanese immigration into the United 
States. California, where most Japanese immigrants settled, de- 
manded that their admission be stopped. The growing opposition 
of the white population led to a number of serious clashes along the 
west coast. Schools refused to admit Japanese students. In fact, 
the San Francisco school dispute in 1906 brought the conflict into 
the open. 

Tokyo was confronted with the problem either of insisting on its 
treaty rights, which guaranteed unrestricted admission of its subjects 
to the United States, or of coming to an amicable settlement of the 


question with Washington. The former alternative was bound to 
put a continuous strain on the relations between the two countries. 
Japan, however, needed the good will of the United States at that 
time in order to carry out her expansionist plans; and so the Japanese 
government gave in, and in the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” of 1907 
pledged itself to prohibit any further emigration to the United States. 

But the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” again did not settle the problem. 
Japanese immigration to America continued and a total of 83,837 
came during the decade 1911 to 1920. Hostile resolutions and bills 
were introduced in Cahfomia, Nevada, Oregon, and Montana legis- 
latures in 1909 and 1910, and subsequently. 

The California law of May 19, 1913, provided, in effect, that the 
Japanese might lease agricultural lands for a maximum of three years; 
lands already owned or acquired in the future in satisfaction of exist- 
ing liens might be retained but could not be bequeathed to heirs 
under a citizenship disabihty. But again, this did not settle the prob- 
lem. The Japanese used various devices to circumvent the land law. 
Some purchased agricultural land in the names of their minor children 
bom on American soil, for whom they acted as guardians, or paid 
American citizens to purchase land and hold it for them or their 
children. Another fairly common practice was to form dummy cor- 
porations in which perhaps 50 per cent of the stock was held by an 
American, usually the corporation’s attorney, who in reality held only 
a “naked trust” and had no voice in the management of the cor- 
poration’s affairs. 

World War I only intensified the problem. The progress made 
by Japanese-American farmers during the war irritated many; those 
let out from the factories resented Japanese control of land; the re- 
turning soldiers, contrasting their economic insecurity with the Jap- 
anese situation, were easily aroused. Agitation was fanned by the 
award of Shantung to Japan and Japanese activity in Siberia, Man- 
churia, and Korea. Critics pointed out that many Japanese coming 
into the country as students, profession! men, and merchants, were, 
in fact, disguised spies. The custom of bringing Yoshi (adopted chil- 
dren) and picture brides was also pointed out as a means of evading 
the agreement of 1907. After the Japanese agreed to what has been 
called a “ladies’ agreement” and ceased issuing passports to the brides 
after Febraary 25, 1920, agitation was transferred to the “Kankodan” 
system, under which an immigrant would take a short trip to Japan, 
marry, and return with his bride. 

The economic arguments ascribed to the Japanese tremendous ad- 



vantages in competition because of aid received from their govern- 
ment, their low standard of living, and their well-knit organizations. 
But overshadowing the economic objections to the Japanese, the claim 
of nonassimilability— “once a Jap always a Jap”— was voiced con- 
tinuously. Japanese worship of the Mikado was held to be an in- 
surmountable barrier to good American citizenship. As a result, 
the California Land Law of 1913 was amended, depriving a Japanese 
of the right to lease agricultural land, to act as guardian for a native- 
born minor if his estate consisted of property which the Japanese 
could not hold under the law, or to transfer property with intent to 
evade the law. Following California’s example, Oregon, Washing- 
ton, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Delaware, Colorado, and New Mexico 
passed similar laws. 

The Exclusion Act of 1^24. In 1922, in the Ozawa case, the 
United States Supreme Court declared that Japanese were outside 
the zone of those who could become naturalized. Japanese ex;clu- 
sionism coincided with the general campaign to restrict immigration. 
Popular indignation was aroused by a note from the Japanese am- 
bassador Hanihara to Secretary of State Hughes mentioning the 
“grave consequences” which would ensue if the exclusion clause were 
passed. The Exclusion Act became law in 1924. 

Trends in eoncentration. During the years 1913 through 1920, 
Japanese aliens entered the continental United States in steadily in- 
creasing numbers, totaling 77,936 for the entire period; 59,098 de- 
parted, leaving a net accession from abroad of 18,838. These, to- 
gether with previous immigrants and American-bom children, set 
the total Japanese population in continental United States at 111,010 
in 1920. 

After 1924, Japanese immigration fell off sharply, though profes- 
sional men, merchants, and others continued to enter the United 
States. Immigration totals are; 33,462 from 1921 to 1930; 1,948 from 
1931 to 1940; and 353 to June 30, 1943. Students, merchants, gov- 
ernment officials, ministers of religion and their families, and bona fide 
residents returning from a visit to Japan — ^all of whom were regarded 
as nonimmigrants or nonquota immigrants — ^made up their number. 
Emigration continued, and it is interesting and perhaps significant that 
in the year before Pearl Harbor over 2,000 returned to Japan. 

In 1920 there were approximately 127,000 Japanese foreign bom 
and citizens in the United States of whom 112,000 resided in the 
three west coast states — 83 per cent in California and most of these 
in Los Ajigeles County. Of the Japanese affected by the evacuation 



order of 1942, about 41,000 were aliens; about 71,000 were Ameri- 
can citizens. Unlike other immigrant groups, the Japanese have 
shown no tendency to disperse; on the contrary, they were more 
densely concentrated on December 7, 1941, than they had been 
twenty years before. Furthermore, a number of factors have served 
to preserve their ties with the homeland, and particularly so because 
the Japanese are recent immigrants. The immigrant groups were 
tied, through the presence on the west coast of numerous Japanese 
mercantile and financial concerns, to the Japanese-controlled firms, 
and, through them, to the consulates. Barred by law from becoming 
American citizens, the Japanese were driven to concentrate in certain 
areas and to organize as a group. Because of the Exclusion Act and 
the Alien Land Act, some of these Japanese harbored deep-seated re- 
sentments against America. 

An additional factor was their concentration in agriculture. About 
20,000, or 50 per cent, of those gainfully employed in California 
were in that occupation. Hence they tended to develop their com- 
munities, whose ties were strengthened by race prejudices, in Seattle, 
Portland, Tacoma, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. 
They produced peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, berries, 
and so on, near large urban centers, with Little Tokyo settlements 
located in the respective cities. 

Unfortunately, many Japanese settlements, in the words of Colonel 
Karl Bendetsen, were “deployed through very sensitive and very 
vital areas.” Since the Japanese were already in these particular 
areas before they became vital defense zones (the Terminal Island in 
the center of Los Angeles harbor, the Puget Sound, on Bainbridge 
Island, near the Bremerton Navy Yard), here was a very unfortu- 
nate coincidence. For example, in Seattle, the Japanese operated 
2,076 hotels, many along the waterfront, which in many cases be- 
came an almost impenetrable screen for espionage activities. 

The age-youth conflict. Little islands in a hostile sea, and cut off 
from the rest of the population, the Japanese Americans were divided 
even more sharply among themselves. The one group is young, the 
other is old — ^there are virtually no middle-aged. The former are 
die Nisei, the native-bom American generation. The latter are the 
Issei, the original immigrant stock. The average age of the Nisei 
was nineteen in 1939; that of the Issei was fifty-eight, and his average 
period of residence in this country was thirty years. 

This unusual youth-age abyss is complicated by the gulf that 
separates two totally unlike cultures. The cessation of all immigra- 


tion in 1924 helped to fix the economic and social leadership in the 
original immigrant group to the exclusion of the American-bom 
and educated Nisei. In many cases, the parents sent their children 
to Japanesedanguage schools or arranged for them to receive part 
of their education in Japan; the same considerations prompted many 
parents to register their children (about one third of those born in 
California) with the Japanese consulates as Japanese citizens. 

White reports that the Issei are ‘‘more Japanese than the Japanese 
themselves,” since they have clung desperately to the mores of the old, 
unaware that modern Japan has moved on.^ But their children have 
gone to school, many of them to American colleges, and have ac- 
quired a mentality that separates them sharply from their fathers. 
Many of them are fellow citizens of ours, educated in American 
schools, trained in American business and professions, and these suffer 
from the effects of the inflamed prejudices and public opinion which 
are prone to judge the Japanese not on the basis of the individual 
but rather on a racial basis, regardless of his citizenship. 

It might not be amiss to mention also that economic facts have 
played an important contributory part in the feeling against the 
Japanese on the west coast. In a report to the Tolan Congressional 
Committee by the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese- American Citizens’ 
League, it was pointed out that, for instance, in Seattle owners of 
hotel properties had pressed for the removal of Japanese so that 
they might take over the now profitable hotel business; in rural areas, 
farmers showed their desire to get control of rich lands leased by 
Japanese farmers.® 

NkeL Alienated culturally from their fathers by American citi- 
zenship, American education, and American thinking, and from their 
fellow citizens by their appearance and by racial antipathies, the 
Nisei have been forced into a fierce group consciousness and an in- 
tense gregariousness. The result was that in 1929 the first Nisei 
organized the now powerful Japanese-American Citizens League, 
with the slogan, “Building Toward Responsible Citizenship.” In 
1939 there were 486 Nisei organizations — sports, religious, cultural, 
civic, fraternal, social, and so on — on the western coast alone. They 
had to face for years the agitation of the California Joint Immigra- 
tion Committee, which sponsored much of the anti-Japanese and anti- 

2Magner White, “Between Two Flags,’’ The Saturday Evening Post, CCXII 
(September 30, 1939), pp. 14 

3 Galen M. Fisher, “Japanese Evacuation from the Pacific Coast,” Far Eastern 
Survey (June 29, 1942), p. 145. 



Oriental legislation in America, and the national defense committee 
of American Legion Navy Post No. 278 in Los Angeles, which pro- 
posed the fishing bills which would have forbidden any but citizens 
of the United States to operate fishing boats off the California coast. 
The American-bom Nisei fought such legislation, as well as the Le- 
gion-sponsored legislation for fingerprinting aliens and requiring them 
to report to authorities every ninety days. The Nisei opposed such 
legislation by arguments that most of the fishermen were “ Issei’ — 
ninety-seven out of a hundred, inehgible to citizenship — ^who had 
lived in America most of their fives; being technically aliens, the pro- 
posed bill would have cut off their living. The fingerprinting bill 
was “not in keeping with our understanding of American tolerance; 
it would impose a humiliating requirement upon ‘Issei’ who are just 
as law-abiding, just as wiUing taxpayers as any other group in the 
country.” * 

Dual citizenship. One of the most serious problems faced by the 
Nisei is dual citizenship. In 1942 there were in the neighborhood of 
90,000 Japanese in the state of California, a large number of whom 
were in possession of dual citizenship, under a Japanese law of De- 
cember I, 1924, called the New Nationality Law.® Under that law, 
Japanese born in the United States after that date automatically lost 
Japanese citizenship unless within fourteen days they were registered 
at the Japanese consulate. The law further provided that those who 
registered, as well as those bom in America before December, 1924, 
could renounce Japanese citizenship by declaration at the Japanese 
consulate after reaching their twentieth year. But the records of the 
California Joint Immigration Committee show that the Japanese so 
born did not repatriate themselves by renouncing their Japanese 
citizenship other than to the extent of from one fourth to about 
one third, and that the remainder retained their citizenship. Loss of 
family standing and inheritance in Japan were the chief reasons given 
for lack of expatriation. 

Shadoax) of the Axis over Japanese Americans. In 1940, the 
shadow of the treaty by which Japan joined Germany and Italy in 
military alliance fell over the flowered fields and coastal cliffs of 
southern California. For many months suspicious California had dis- 

^ White, op» cit^ p. 73- 

5 Testimony of Robert H. Fouke, representing the California Joint Immigration 
Committee, before the Tolan Committee, Select Committee Investigating National 
Defense Aligration, Problems of Evacuation of Enemy Aliens ^ and Others from 
Prohibited Military Zones, Washington, D. C., Government Printing OiEce, 1942, 
p. I 1070. 



liked the spectacle of Japanese farmers tending fruit and flowers 
amid oil fields and near airports and aircraft factories. Civilians and 
naval authorities alike had looked askance on Japanese fishing boats 
cruising near United States warships during maneuvers, and were 
wondering why Japanese fishermen and canners were permitted to 
live on Terminal Island, within gunshot of the naval operating base 
at San Pedro. Why did Japanese Americans cross the ocean by hun- 
dreds each year to visit their ancestral homes.^ Why did so many 
radio masts sprout from Japanese homes in Cahfomia? 

The Nisei sought to answer some of the questions by declaring 
that most of the lands they tilled had been farmlands long before 
drillers tapped the oil stores underneath. They pointed out that their 
slow old fishing boats (rumored to be torpedo boats in disguise) had 
been locally built and were physically unable to carry the heavy air- 
compression machinery required to discharge torpedoes, and that 
fishermen’s barracks on the Terminal Island all had radio masts be- 
cause ship-to-shore communication is necessary in the fishing business. 
The Japanese American Citizens League, chief national organization 
of the Nisei, supported conscription and announced that 16,500 Jap- 
anese Americans were eligible for the draft (approximately 9,000 
Nisei entered the United States Army),® that Japanese Americans 
had fought with the A.E.F. in the first World War and would fight 
again in the next, as most second-generation Japanese in America are 
proud of their American citizenship. In fact, a confidential memo- 
randum by an American intelligence officer reported after Pearl 
Harbor that “many of the ‘Nisei’ voluntarily contributed valuable 
antisubversive information to . . . governmental agencies,” and “the 
Japanese Consular staff, the Central Japanese Association, and others 
known to have been sympathetic to the Japanese cause did not them- 
selves trust the ‘Nisei’.” ’’ 

By and large, however, the Nisei had been on a definite road of 
Americanization and many had been encouraged by their parents. 
When there had been opposition, it had been due to the loyalty of 
some of their parents to Japan, strengthened by the Japanese con- 
sular system, and, above all, the fact that the parents could not be- 
come citizens of the United States though they had the status of 

«Kazu)Tiki, Takahashi, “The Nisei and Selective Service,” New Republic, CX 
(March 20, 1944), p. 382. 

^ An Intelligence Officer, “The Japanese in America,” Harpet^s Magazine, CLXXXV 
(October, 1942), p. 491. 


legal residents, “That some of the ‘Nisei’ children are more Ameri- 
canized than others is not so much a measure of the success of an 
Americanization program as it is a measure of the strength of the 
opposition to such a program, usually on the part of the parents. 
Unless there is a conscious, active, continuous opposition, the child 
will absorb Americanization as naturally as he breathes.” ® 

KibeL The word Kibei (pronounced kee-bay) means “returned 
to America,” It refers to those Nisei who spent all or a large por- 
tion of their lives in Japan and who returned to the United States. 
As the Nisei grew older and more American, many of the Issei, 
hoping to retain some bond with their swiftly changing children, 
sent them to Japan to be “Japanized.” These are known as “Kibei 
Shimin,” and there were some 50,000 of them in Japan in 1937, when 
they were urged to return to California and other Pacific states by 
the Japanese Foreign Office. They were received into full member- 
ship by the Japanese American Citizens’ League, although they were 
practically alien Japanese.® It was estimated that in 1942 more than 
25,000 United States citizens of Japanese parentage had been educated 
in schools in Japan.^° 

This group was considered “the most potentially dangerous ele- 
ment of all” by an intelligence officer of the United States, “ who 
concluded that “these people are essentially and inherently Japanese 
and may have been deliberately sent back to the United States by 
the Japanese government to act as agents. In spite of their legal 
citizenship and the protection afforded them by the Bill of Rights, 
they should be looked upon as enemy ahens.^® In fact, he states 
that “such persons must be considered guilty until proven innocent 
beyond a reasonable doubt,” recommends that “they should be segre- 
gated from those not in that classification,” and suggests that “the 
parents or guardians who sent them back to Japan must have done 
so for a reason” and “are equally suspect.” 

Japanese schools. When the first Nisei started coming home from 
school talking English, the Issei tried to retain some hold on their 
children by establishing the Japanese-language schools, called gakuen, 
which came to be viewed by so many people as hotbeds of Japanese 

s An Intelligence Officer, op, cit., p. 494. 
® Select Committee, op. cit., pp. 11077, 

I bid. y p. 11082. 

Ibid., pp. 489-497. 



propaganda and anti-American intrigue.^® In San Francisco, Los 
Angeles, and Seattle, the three major centers of Japanese population, 
the schools were subsidized in numerous ways by the Tokyo gov- 
ernment and teachers were invariably alien Japanese. These schools 
were one of the mainstays of the isolationism of the Japanese Amer- 
icans. Japanese Buddhist teachers were brought in under the excep- 
tion provision of the immigration laws. Their religious as well as 
their educational background was Japanese as to culture, ideas, ideals, 
action, and thought. In 1941 there were 248 of the Japanese-language 
schools in California, teaching about 1 8,000 children the culture and 
emperor worship of Japan daily after public school hours and on 
Saturday.’^* In 1939 these schools cost the Japanese $398,000. 

Japanese organizations. One of the outstanding factors charac- 
terizing the life of the Japanese Americans has been that they have been 
very closely organized. In California a large number of Japanese 
organizations covered every branch of life; agricultural, commercial, 
educational, social, religious, and patriotic. Almost every Japanese 
in California was included in one or more of these organizations. 
All these organizations were, in turn, closely integrated by means 
of interlocking directorates and officers, honorary advisers, and inter- 
locking membership among the ordinary members. There was also 
a close relationship between Japanese associations in California and 
parent or governmental organizations in Japan, and “on many oc- 
casions the associations in California have contributed to and assisted 
in the war effort of the Japanese Government.” The extensiveness 
of the system can be appreciated from Tokyo’s report of April 25, 
1941, to the effect that the Japanese “Central Council of Overseas 
Organizations announced that there are 2,700 Japanese organizations 
in the United States, representatives of which will meet for a con- 
vention in Tokyo in November, 1941.” The Japanese Veterans 
Association of America, for instance, numbering at one time 8,000 
members, showed a Japanese motion picture entitled “Flaming Skies,” 
and sponsored the tour of Major G. Tanaka, of the Japanese Army, 
and a member of the army general staff, who arrived in San Francisco 
on January i, 1941, “with fuU uniform, sword, and medals and toured 
the state lecturing before various Japanese groups, eventually return- 

IS In 1921 California assumed control of the gakuen, making attendance compul- 
sory, but in 1927 the attorney general ruled this unconstitutional. 

Select Committee, op, cit.^ p. 11086. 

Select Committee, op, cit,^ p. 10975. 


ing to Japan via New York. While here, he is reported to have said: 
‘Japan and the United States will go to war this autumn.’ ” 

Relocating Japanese Americans 

In 1942 the army decided it a wise and necessary policy to remove 
the first- and second-generation Japanese from the west coast and 
send them to camps in the interior. On February 19, 1942, President 
Roosevelt issued an executive order authorizing the army to evacuate 
anyone, alien or citizen, from military areas. 

Thus, for the first time in American history, the government 
evacuated all members of one racial group from their places of 
permanent settlement on the Pacific coast to designated and confined 
areas. Of the n 0,000 persons thus affected, the 70,000 who were 
American citizens became exiles in their native land. 

As a Cahfomia observer. Professor Floyd A. Cave of San Francisco 
State College, points out, “behind the decision of army authorities 
to move all Japanese out of coastal areas along the Pacific Coast were 
a number of important factors,” and “allegations of critics of the 
policy that it was actuated by economic and patriotic pressure groups, 
self-seeking politicians, scare mongers of the radio and press, and war 
hysteria on the part of the people generally, all contain a measure of 
truth, yet they fail to give us a comprehensive picture of the situa- 
tion as a whole.” 

Relocation centers. The United States government, having called 
upon the Japanese Americans to move from their homes, also assumed 
a responsibility for helping them to become re-estabhshed. To carry 
this program into execution, the President on March 18, 1942, created 
a civilian agency known as the War Relocation Authority, which 
established the relocation centers. They were formed for two pri- 
mary purposes: (i) To provide communities where evacuees might 
live and contribute, through work, to their own support pending 
their gradual reabsorption into private employment and normal Amer- 
ican life; and (2) to serve as wartime homes for those evacuees who 
might be unable or unfit to relocate in ordinary American communi- 

Under regulations adopted in September, 1942, the War Reloca- 
tion Authority started working toward a steady depopulation of the 

p. 10976. 

Floyd A. Cave, “The Exclusion and Relocation of Pacific Coast Japanese,” 
Imer cultural Education News, IV (October, 1942). 



centers by encouraging all able-bodied residents with good records 
of behavior to re-enter private employment in agriculture or in- 

The work of the WRA was not, however, without its troubles. 
While the great majority of the residents of the centers appeared 
loyal to the United States and sympathetic to its war aims, some 
refused to pledge loyalty or good behavior; in May, 1943, plans were 
made to segregate the residents of relocation centers on the basis of 
national loyalty. The Tule Lake center in northern California was 
designated as the segregation center, to be the place of residence 
for those whose loyalties lie with Japan rather than with the United 
States. Included among the segregants in the Tule Lake center were 
persons who requested repatriation or expatriation to Japan, those 
who refused to pledge loyalty to the United States, and persons who, 
because of unfavorable intelligence reports or other records of un- 
American behavior in the past, were found to be ineligible for leave 
under WRA procedures.^® 

By the end of January, 1943, west coast Japanese Americans were 
leaving the War Relocation Authority’s ten centers at the rate of 75 
a day, in accordance with regulations granting them indefinite leave 
on evidence that they had employment or other means of support 
and after investigation by both the project director and the national 
WRA office. Between October, 1942, and January, 1943, about 
1,300 left the centers. Next to those leaving for domestic service, 
the second largest group entered agriculture and secretarial and steno- 
graphic work, and the rest carried on a variety of work, industrial 
to photographic; a majority of all these worked in the Rocky Moun- 
tain states, Utah and Colorado especially. 

The American Friends Service Committee concerned itself only 
with the relocation of Japanese-American students in colleges and 
universities in the mid-western and eastern colleges. Many of the 
2,500 evacuated Japanese-American college students were members 
of local Student Christian Associations, to whom the Committee de- 
cided to “extend the hand of fellowship and aid at this particular time,” 
for they were “one of us — ^American, Christian, deeply loyal to demo- 
ns Cf. War Relocation Authority, Relocation of Japanese- Americans, Washington, 
D. C., 1943. 

For the citations of the various theses supporting or denying the sabotage and 
disloyal practices of Japanese Americans, see Joseph S. Roucek, “American Japanese, 
Pearl Harbor and World War 11 ,” Journal of Negro Education, XII (Fall, 1042), 
pp. 633-649- 



cratic living.”^® In a letter dated May 21, 1942, to Clarence E. 
Pickett from Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, approval 
was given to the plan for university education. The program also 
had the endorsement and cooperation of the United States OlEce of 
Education and the War Relocation Authority. Serving on the execu- 
tive and regional committees were such leading educators as Robert G. 
Sproul, president of the University of California, Monroe E. Duetsch, 
vice-president of the University of California, Remson E. Bird, presi- 
dent of Occidental College, Dean J. C. DeVoss, San Jose State College, 
Dean Mary C. Baker, Fresno State College, and others. By November 
II, 1942, of the 2,166 questionnaires received from students, more 
than 500 students had been accepted by some college and 340 had 
secured travel permits. The institutions were located in twenty-four 
different states ranging from Maine to Massachusetts. In January, 
1945, when restrictions on movements of loyal Japanese were lifted, 
students were permitted to resume their studies in west coast colleges. 

On July 30, 1944, the War Relocation Authority reported that there 
had been no sabotage and no espionage among the citizens of Jap-;- 
anese ancestry in the relocation areas, and probably a smaller number 
of minor crimes and misdemeanors than would be found in another 
group of 125,000 persons. In World War II Japanese Americans 
served in the army in Italy. Bond purchases by evacuees ranked 
about the same as among other workers in the same wage class. Many 
of these citizens gave blood to the Red Cross. About 25 per cent of 
the approximately 110,000 Japanese originally confined in the bar- 
racks-hke settlements in and west of the Rockies began making their 
own li ving by 1944. Even then steps had been taken to provide for 
the postwar relocation of these “citizen hostages” in the nine areas 
(other than Tule Lake), but there was opposition to their return 
to some communities, especially in California. It is hoped that their 
record during the war will prevent the transfer of the feeling toward 
the Japanese-in-Asia to the great majority of Japanese Americans who 
demonstrated their loyalty to the United States. 

Contributions to American Life 

In spite of aU the criticism directed against Japanese Americans, 
they have contributed their share to the upbuilding of America. 

^oEdmonia Grant, Fair Play for American Fellow-Students of Japanese Descent. 
New York: National Commission on Chrisdan Social Reconstruction, 1942-1943, p. 4. 



Their work in reclaiming land in the Imperial Valley and in irri- 
gating sandy areas has won them the respect and admiration of those 
who understand the problems they have had to solve. 

It is worthwhile to read G. Eckstein’s story of Noguchi/^ the poor 
Japanese peasant who became one of the world’s greatest scientists 
in America. Noguchi’s pure culture of the germ of syphilis, his 
discovery of the causes of paresis and locomotor ataxia, his identifica- 
tion of Arya fever with another obscure and hitherto unrelated dis- 
ease, his work on trachoma and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and 
finally his heroic death in Africa caused by the dreaded yellow fever 
he was investigating, remains one of the greatest romantic tales of 

Yasuo Kuniyoshi is represented in all the major museums and art 
collections in America. Winner of many awards and Guggenheim 
Fellow in 1935, he is active in the work of many art groups in the 
country — the American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, 
the Woodstock Artists Association, the American Artists’ Congress, 
Salons of America, and the H. E. Field Art Foundation. He is an in- 
structor at the Art Students League and the New School for Social 
Research in New York City. 

In 1944, Sono Osato, 24-year-old Japanese- American ballerina, was 
one of the most popular stars of “One Touch of Venus.” 

Little is known in this country about the Japanese underground, 
and even less about Japanese idealists such as Taro Yashima who 
have suffered pain, hardship, and sometimes death for their rebellious 
convictions. Born in 1908, the son of a country doctor, Yashima 
decided to devote his talents to the cause of the people; he traveled 
the land, earning his rice by illustrating popular magazines. When 
that became impossible, he continued the fight as an artist for an 
underground newspaper. He was jailed ten times, and his wife, also 
an artist, was seized, too, before they left Japan for America some 
years ago. They had lost two sons. The Japanese-American sculp- 
tor, Isamu Noguchi, says of Yashima’s book. The New Sun: “Yo- 
shima’s traditional brushwork shows the influence of such Western 
matters as Daumier and Van Gogh. His book should prove truly 
useful in exposing the elements that now rule Japan.” 

The intense desire of many loyal Americans of Japanese descent 
to be called and thought of as Americans rather than Japanese was 

G. Eckstein, Noguchi. New York: Harper and Brothers, tpsi. 

22 See Taro Yashima, The New Sun. New York: Henry Holt, 1943. 


^Voiced by many of them serving in the 442nd Infantry Regiment 
at Camp Shelby, Mississippi” (in 1943). One of them wrote: 

Fm of Japanese ancestry, but by all rights of birth an American. I’ve 
always considered myself an American but by reasons of racial color some 
people have referred to me as a “Jap.” There are nearly two regiments 
of us here in Shelby and that remark has hurt every one of us. Why 
can’t Americans (regardless of racial differences) consider us true Amer- 
icans, like they are? 

America isn’t a nation of one nationality. It has more cosmopolitan 
population than any other nation in this world. Then why should they 
have such terrible race prejudice on a minority? Looking back on 
American history we find that English have fought English and the con- 
sequences was the birth of a new nation, America. Then again in 1812 
Americans of English ancestry willingly took up arms against English- 

In the first world war Americans of German and Italian ancestry fought 
against Germany. Now in this war we find Americans of Italian, Ger- 
man and Japanese ancestry more than glad that they can fight the common 
enemy. Then why can’t all Americans see that blood isn’t as thick as 
the principles of ' democracy. Every single one of us, Americans of 
Japanese ancestry in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, would rather fight the 
“Japs” than the Germans to prove our loyalty. 

There already is a battalion of Americans of Japanese ancestry from 
Hawaii in combat in Italy. Many of the boys in the 442nd have brothers 
and other relatives in that battalion but still we’re called “Japs.” We 
would like nothing better than to join them right now, but as yet our 
training isn’t completed. Though I haven’t a brother in a combat zone 
yet, there are two of them in service: one a technical sergeant in Camp 
Savage, Minnesota, and the other in the service company of the 442nd. 

On Dec. 7, 1941, 1 saw the havoc and bloodshed at Pearl Harbor and 
helped bury the dead. I tried to volunteer then but was refused. Then 
in March (of 1943) the Army called for 1,500 volunteers of Japanese 
Americans to form a unique combat team. Though the quota was set 
at 1,500, nearly ten thousand men volunteered. Many of my friends ac- 
tually cried because they were rejected or weren’t able to receive an 
examination because the quota was filled. 

Skeptics insisted that only a couple of hundred would volunteer but 
they certainly were mistaken. Many here on the mainland of the United 
States think we were drafted or that we volunteered because we didn’t 
have jobs. I volunteered for one purpose, and that is to do my part, 
though how insignificant it may be, to preserve American democracy. 
Incidentally, previous to my induction I received more than $10 a day 
as an electrician. 

23 “Stigma of is Resented by U. S. Japanese” New York Herald-Tribune^ 
November 14, 1943. 



One great hero of World War II was Ben Kuroki, a technical ser- 
geant in the United States Army Air Forces, veteran of thirty heavy 
bombing missions against the enemy, survivor of the ruthless, costly 
raid on the Ploesti oilfields of Rumania, winner of two Distinguished 
Flying Crosses, and wearer of the coveted Air Medal with four oak- 
leaf clusters."^ 

-*“Ben Kuroki, American,” Time, XLIII (February, 1944), p. 26. 


The Americas and Our Territorials 

T. V. Kjvlijarvi 

B efore 1930, a large number of immigrants came to the United 
States by way of Canada. Not all of these were Canadian bom, 
and some had lived in Canada for only a short period. So confused 
is the picture of this Canadian migration that, in spite of statistics, 
only the more prominent aspects are clear. Thus, for example, many 
Europeans who came to the United States did so by way of Canada, 
and therefore should not properly be called Canadian immigrants. 

From the beginning of the history of both Canada and the United 
States, the people have mingled, thus leaving a confused story of per- 
sonal activities, of birth, marriage, life, hardships, struggles, longing, 
death, and religion; but by far the larger part of this mingling has 
taken place in the United States, for the people of Canadian stock 
here far exceed people from this country in Canada. In 193 1 there 
were roughly 344,574 United States-bom persons in Canada as con- 
trasted with 1,278,421 Canadian bom living in this country.^ This 
has been the story for the last century. The ratio may have fluctu- 
ated from time to time, particularly around 1900, when the Canadian 
influx into the United States was exceptionally great, but relations 
have not changed. Thus the unrestricted flow of peoples across our 
mumally unguarded international frontier has always been in favor 
of the United States. 

The 1930 United States census set the number of inhabitants of 
Cana dian stock in the United States at 3,3 37,345- Of these, 2,058,824 
were children of Canadian parentage. Equivalent figures for 1940 
are 2,910,1 58 and i ,866,040. The Canadian Americans totaled about 

1 See Leon E. Trnesdell, The Cmadian Bom in the Uttked States, pp. 14, 47 ff- 
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1943. 



2.7 per cent of the whole population of the country.^ These people, 
both French- and English-speaking Canadians, were located in the 
New England states. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Indiana, lUinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, North 
Dakota, Nebraska, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Florida, Mon- 
tana, Colorado. Washington, Oregon, and California.® 


The people of Canada are primarily French and English. The for- 
mer were the first settlers, having established themselves shortly after 
1600. The English are fairly new comers. In 1763, when Canada 
was officially ceded to England by France, and in 1775, the popula- 
tion of Canada was sriU practically aU French. But the nineteenth 
century saw migration from the British Isles into Canada, and the 
migrants, settling over the whole country, threatened to engulf the 
French Canadians. In spite of this, as late as 1931 four fifths of the 
people of the Province of Quebec were still French, and so was one 
third of the people of New Brunswick, 1 5 per cent of those of Prince 
Edward Island, and 1 1 per cent of those of Nova Scotia. 

This fact is of significance for the United States, for the Canadian 
migrants have brought to this country their two languages and race 
groups. The Frenchman remains fairly constant and by himself. 
The Anglo Saxon, being recruited constantly from the British Isles 
and from various parts of the United States, has found no great need 
for group solidarity. Everything conceivable separates the two 
people, not only language, but cultural institutions, rehgion, political 
views, and sentiments of the deepest sort. With the English-speaking 
group constantly growing, it is not surprising to learn that of the 
1,278,421 Canadian-born people within our borders in 1930, 370,852, 
or 29 per cent, were French, 907,569, or 68.9 per cent, were Enghsh, 
and only 26,815, or 2.1 per cent, came from other countries. These 
“other” nationalities were in the order of their size German, Yiddish, 
Polish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and 
Icelandic.* In 1940, the ratio of French and non-French was almost 

2 These figures should be accepted with some reservation, for, as will be seen 
later, there are manjr third- and fourth-generation French Canadians who still speak 
French and are as thoroughly a part of that civilization and culture as if they were 
located in the province of Quebec. Later figures given under the heading of French 
Canadians make allowances for this and as far as possible include these people in 
the calculating. 

® Tmesdell, op, ck., pp. 54, 55. 

^Truesdell, op. cit,, pp. 46-47. 



identical with that in 1930, the numbers being 944,119 and 

In order to understand our own people, it is important to recognize 
this difference between the French Canadians and the English Ca- 
nadians who have settled within our borders. As will be seen, the 
French retain a cultural homogeneity, while the English-speak- 
ing people have a tendency to merge with the people of the United 

English-speaking and other Canadians — exclusive of the French. 
The Enghsh-speaking Canadians who have settled in this country 
tend to seek employment as skilled workmen, foremen, and clerks. 
A fairly large group have become farmers. For the most part they 
mingle directly in the communities into which they have moved, 
especially where there are large or substantial groups of Anglo-Saxon 
origin, and thus attract little attention and comment. Since their 
institutional and cultural background is the same as that which pre- 
dominates in this country, their migration across the border leaves 
them with little distinction from the rest of the people among whom 
they settle, except an occasional deep-seated loyalty to everything 
Canadian, in which respect they do not differ from many other 
people in the United States. 

T he French Canadians voithin our borders. The French Canadians 
in the United States constitute a distinct cultural group. To their 
number belong not only naigrants of the first and second generations, 
but many of the third and fourth and even older generations. They 
number between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 persons, depending upon 
the source of the figures.® Most of them are concentrated in New 
England, the Eastern seaboard, and the border states of Illinois, Michi- 
gan, and Wisconsin. Substantial groups may also be found in Cali- 
fornia and Louisiana. 

These people are rugged, virile, industrious, and possessed of loyalty 
to their parish, family, religion, language, and institutions, all of 
which is amply testified to by the close relations that tie them together 
here and with Canada. They are generous and warm-hearted, yet 
they also know how to save and to exist on very little. Their Ca- 
nadian experience of competition with the rising tide of English 
migration, replenished as has been previously explained, has left the 
French Canadians only one recourse if they are to survive, and that is 

^For an analysis of some of these statistics see the discussion and references in 
Thorsten V. Kalijarvi, “French Canadians in the United States,” The Anmls of the 
American Academy of Political and Social Science, 223 (September, 1942), pp. 


retention of their culture and large families. This philosophy and 
this social phenomenon they have brought with them to the United 
States. In fact there is a belt extending from New York across 
the Canadian frontier throughout the province of Quebec and the 
other areas previously mentioned where these people live, work, and 
grow stronger and more numerous day by day. 

The migrations of the French Canadians to this country go back 
as far as 1623. The earliest settlers located on Manhattan, in Massa- 
chusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island. The struggle for 
survival in Canada and the lure of better-paying jobs across the frontier 
have been the chief incentives to migration during recent years. Most 
of them have come from St. Hyacinthe, Trois Rivieres, Rimouski, 
Belle Chasse, and la Beauce, although many have come from other 
areas.® The greatest influx took place between i860 and 1890. 

In the United States, the French Canadians gravitate to the larger 
urban communities and seek opportunities as semiskilled workers in 
manufacturing.’' In 1910, over 35 per cent of the immigrant Ca- 
nadian French could be classed as semiskilled workers, and the ratio 
remains about the same today. Some continue to farm, some enter 
the professions, some are wholesale and retail dealers, proprietors, and 
other kindred groups; but for the most part these latter belong to the 
second and third generations. 

The life of the Canadian Frenchman centers chiefly around his 
parish and his home. The family is a strong cohesive unit, and this 
fact has permitted the French groups to survive and grow in this 
country. Next to the family as a unifying influence is the church, 
modeled on that of Brittany and Normandy. The home and church 
influences permeate their h’terature and their thinking. Schools, too, 
have a unifying effect. Language and culture have been stressed as 
parts of the program of survival, and these have been carried forward 
by French parochial schools, colleges, and other educational institu- 
tions, for the Frenchman has feared entrusting his children to the 
teaching of “strangers.” The press, too, has been one of the great 
vehicles of group unity and cohesion. 

Some associations that bind the French-Canadian population both 
here and in Canada into a united people are the Societe Lafayette, the 
Societe Jacques Cartier, VUnion Saint-Jean Baptiste d’Amerique, and 
the Le^on Franco-Americaine. 

«See The Armais ^ op, cit., p. 133. 
^ See Truesdell, op, cit,, p. 203. 



Inter- American Relationships 

“Since 1918, immigration from Canada to the United States has 
practically ceased. However, relationships have been maintained 
through societies that have a membership in both countries. For in- 
stance, La Societe des Artisans Canadiens-Frangais, whose head office 
is in Montreal, and La Societe de V Asso^nption, with its home office in 
Moncton, have many chapters in New England. On the other hand, 
the Association Canada- Americaine, with headquarters in Manchester, 
has one third of its members in the province of Quebec. All groups 
meet in general conventions and carry on an interchange of visits. 
French-Canadian newspapers and books are read by Franco-Ameri- 
cans. Lecturers from French Canada are invited to the United States. 
Relatives visit one another. Many Franco-American parents send 
their children, boys and girls, to the colleges and convents of Quebec. 
In substance, relations are of a cultural nature, economical, political, 
and social ties being negligible.” ® 

The f resent and a Look Ahead 

The attitude of these people toward the war is one of fullest sup- 
port to the Allied and Aunerican cause. A large number of French 
Canadians in the army during World War I and World War 11 
would indicate that their loyalty amounts to enthusiastic support. 
Like most bilingual people in the United States, the French Americans 
believe that one of the effects of the war will be the teaching in 
American schools of more modem languages, the unilingual attitude 
of the past haviag failed to provide our soldiers with a knowledge of 
languages necessary to conduct the war.® 

^^at the future trend of the Canadian migration to this country 
may be is impossible to teU. It is possible that, with Canada under- 
going an industrial revolution during the present war, the French 
Canadi an s in this country may find a new opportunity beckoning 
them in the land from which they migrated. It is equally possible 
that the continued growth of the Anglo-Saxon group will cause the 
migrations of the French to continue in the future. Whichever oc- 
curs, there are signs that the French Canadians will find it harder and 
harder with the passing of years to maintain their cultural and racial 
unity in this country. 

»From a letter of June 23, 1944, from Adolphe Robert, president general of the 
Association Camdo-Americaine. 




Quincy Guy Burris 

In 1940 the people of Spanish mother tongue in this country num- 
bered 1,861,400/ Though they speak a common language, hold a 
common faith, enjoy a common economic level, and resent iu common 
the racial discrimination sporadically leveled against them, they are 
by no means one people. In their origins, in their geographical dis- 
tribution, in their length of residence here, and in their histories they 
present so heterogeneous a front that no honest discussion of their 
status as a minority can ignore any of these facets. 

Some 428,360 are foreign born. The 8 per cent of these who, 
according to the census of 1930, came from Spain have no place in 
this discussion. Another 5 per cent represents the immigration from 
South and Central America and the West Indies. The remainder, 
reckoned in 1943® as 421,165, came from Mexico.® Those bom 
in this country of foreign or mixed parentage, some 714,060, must 
be regarded as the children of less recent immigrants, likewise pre- 
ponderantly from Mexico. A third class of 718,980 were bom 
in this country of native parentage. Unlike the first groups, this 
group falls into two large and widely separated phylons: the children 
of the third or of some earlier generation of Mexican immigrants con- 
stimte one; the other comprises the descendants of those whom the 
conquistadors left here. 

These people are widely dispersed through the United States. In 
groups of 2,000 and more they live and work in twenty-eight states. 
In eleven states they are found in areas of heavy concentration; 
Texas, 738,440; California, 416,140; New Mexico, 221,740; New 
York,* 129,260; Arizona, 101,880; Colorado, 92,540; Florida, 25,100; 
Illinois, 23,940; Kansas, 13,060; Michigan, 11,860; and Pennsylvania, 

^Sixteenth Census of the United States^ Series F-15, No. i, June 9, 1942. These 
round numbers were arrived at by the tabulation of returns from a 5 per cent cross 
section of the population enumerated in the 1940 census. The margin of error is 
computed to be less than 10 per cent. Various unofficial estimates put the total 
number much higher — ^some as high as 4,000,000. 

2 United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
Alien Registration Division, Registered Aliens Bom in Mexico Classifi